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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2586

Sri Lanka: UNP is leaking like a sieve

Colombo, 05 February, ( Ranil Wickremesinghe who told the media on his return from India that his United National Party (UNP) is not facing a crisis there is now threatened with more defections.

Tomorrow when Parliament meets four more parliamentarians are tipped to cross over and join President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government. It is reported that the four UNP parliamentarians -- G. Harrison, Ranjit Madduma Bandara, T. Champika, and Chandrani Bandara – have already met President Rajapakse and finalized the agreement to join the government.

Political circles also speculate that ten more UNP parliamentarians too are expected to join the Government shortly.

If the threatened defections take place, the UNP will be reduced to a minor party beneath that of the JVP. The current decline will lead the UNP into the wilderness for a long time, according to analysts. Party insiders and analysts put the blame on Wickremesinghe who has lost his direction and led the party into the worst crisis ever faced by the UNP.

After the defection of 18 UNP parliamentarians on 28 January, the party is presently left with a balance of 43 elected members.
Ranil Wickremesinghe is planning to hold a party convention on March 17 to implement what he calls “reforms” which were the root cause of the exodus from the UNP. Political observers consider this new move as a futile attempt to bolt the door after the horses have fled.

S. B. Dissanayake, the last remaining member of the reformist group told the media that the reformists left the party because their leader, Wickremesinghe, was not prepared to listen. This is a common complaint among the UNPers. He either is inaccessible to reformists or when he meets them listen to them with only one year open.

This division within the party will have damaging electoral repercussions with the chances of UNP winning in any foreseeable future disappearing for good, according to analysts.

- Asian Tribune-

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