UNP Working Committee calls for immediate general elections
The Working Committee of the United National Party, which met on
Friday has called for an immediate dissolution of Parliament and conduct
of general elections as the only way to halt the Opposition’s efforts to
“undermine” the government’s endeavours to re-build democracy in the
The Working Committee statement said:
It was the fervent wish of the vast majority of people in this
country to establish good governance based on democracy subsequent to
the ending of the dictatorial rule of a single family for close to a
As the one party that has formed governments on its own and the party
that has ruled this country for the longest period for the benefit of
the people, the United National Party strategically brought about a
presidential election at the end of the year 2014 in order to rid the
land of that family dictatorship. For this necessary and noble cause,
the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Mr. Maithripala
Sirisena, was chosen as the candidate who could win the support of
everyone cutting across all divisions such as ethnic identity, class and
religious faith. The United National Party played the most critical role
in this exercise. We must commend President Sirisena for taking up this
formidable challenge in the midst of great risks to himself.
There were a few SLFP leaders, many political parties and civil
society organizations and activists who contributed much to his victory.
It was the UNP and UNP activists who organized all the major rallies,
printed and distributed leaflets from house to house across the length
and breadth of the country and put up most of the posters to ensure his
victory. Except in the North and East, in the rest of the country it was
the members of our party who operated as polling agents and as
representatives at counting centres. We don’t think anyone has forgotten
that it was the membership of our party that worked tirelessly day and
night even as they faced numerous threats and were subjected to all
kinds of harassment by the supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The benefits that accrued to the citizens of this country are
immense. They were obtained, let us reiterate, thanks largely to the
efforts of our membership who had to overcome the challenges posed by
the abuse of state resources, the intensely oppressive climate in which
the rule of law was absent, and other obstacles thrown in their way by
the opposing campaign.
The President sought and obtained a mandate to appoint Ranil
Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister and to appoint a cabinet capable of
delivering all the pledges in the 100 Days Programme. Therefore it can
be concluded that Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed as Prime Minister
from a mandate given under unique conditions by the people. Subsequently
the United People’s Freedom Alliance elected President Sirisena as the
leader of that party and pledged to support the 100 Days Programme.
As per the 100 Days Programme, the people have been offered economic
benefits and the constitution has been amended. No one will dispute that
what we have achieved in 100 days is what many have promised to deliver
for years and have failed to do so.
The UNP has taken the leadership to institute electoral reform. It
has taken a very flexible position in this regard, giving ear to the
views of other political parties. The UNP gave its fullest support to
obtain cabinet approval for this.
It is clear, however, that a group led by the Leader of the
Opposition is engaged in a concerted effort to undermine these efforts.
The Leader of the Opposition, Nimal Siripala Silva, the Secretary of the
SLFP, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, the Secretary of the United People’s
Freedom Alliance as well as some SLFP MPs who hold ministerial or deputy
ministerial positions have tabled in Parliament a no-confidence motion
against the Prime Minister. There is a similar motion of no-confidence
against the Finance Minister Mr Ravi Karunanayake.
Prof GL Peiris has openly stated at a media briefing that the purpose
is to take up the no-confidence motion for debate, oust the Prime
Minster and appoint in place someone they support. After setting up a
government, they would get the 20th Amendment passed, he said.
Accordingly, it is clear that the Opposition is in a pernicious effort
to bring down the Government violating all agreements.
Also, the malicious and subversive campaign to stop the appointment
of three civil society representatives to the Constitutional Council
clearly indicates that this group is engaged in a reprehensible move to
embarrass the President and the Government, and mislead the people.
Their decision to subvert the 20th Amendment and debate the
no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister shows that they will not
act in a people-friendly manner in the legislature.
In a situation where the President has made good on all promises made
to the people, the Working Committee unanimously decided on June 12th
that this campaign launched by this opposition group to destabilize the
country and turn back the Janury 8th revolution should be stopped and
that the President should be asked to dissolve Parliament and let the
people elect a Government of their choice.
It was emphasized that the call by the Honorable Speaker as well as
the majority of parliamentarians to dissolve Parliament should be
The UNP has also decided that future elections subsequent to the next
parliamentary election should be held under the proposed new system.
Under this new system there will be an MP
returned from every electorate. In addition, there will be members
returned from districts and also taking into account the total numbers
As a result each party will have MPs in proportion to the total
number polled by the particular party. It was the consistent position of
the UNP that the number of seats in Parliament should not exceed 225.
The Working Committee stresses that this position has not changed.