Surprise talks to resolve Ranil-Sajith row

By Our Political Editor

Talks to resolve the feud between two factions within the main opposition United National Party (UNP) will begin today. The surprise move for reconciliation is the result of suggestions made by deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya and a group of senior UNPers to Sajith Premadasa, who heads what is being described as a dissident group.

Others who made the call for reconciliation include former speaker Joseph Michael Perera, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and Opposition Chief Whip John Amaratunga.

A group of UNPers led by Mr. Premadasa will meet Mr. Jayasuriya at his Amerasekera Mawatha residence in Colombo 5. Others to accompany him are Rukman Senanayake, Dayasiri Jayasekera, Talatha Athukorale and Ranjith Madduma Bandara.

Proposals for reconciliation had been made by senior UNP parliamentarians and Provincial Councillors when they met for a seminar at the Galle Face Hotel on Wednesday. The event was sponsored by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

However, on Friday the group backing Mr. Premadasa met at a residence in Kirillapone to discuss their strategy for tomorrow’s meeting of the Working Committee. They have decided to support the recommendations of the Party Reforms Committee. However, they will move an amendment to the recommendation that the party’s main office bearers including the leader be elected by their MPs and the Working Committee.

They want the voting right to be extended to the party’s Provincial Councillors and members of local authorities. The group is to urge that the matter be put to a vote in the Working Committee.

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