UNP reforms : a vanquished leader must go; inordinate powers of leader out ; New political Council in -full report...

(Lanka-e-News - 10.April.2018, 6.00PM)   During  the introduction of reforms to  a party in a country , if citizens other than the party members are enthusiastic over it , it is an inference that  that party is engaged in grass roots politics and interwoven with  country’s society . Though the citizens apart from  the party members were making raving reviews about  the reforms  of the UNP, they   have  however not concerned   about the reforms of the other parties. By this it is evident leaving aside    its  30% to 35% vote base  ,  UNP is the party that decides the fate of all the citizens of the country in general . 

Specially after Ranil Wickremesinghe became the leader of the UNP , there clearly emerged a new dimension. The UNP which ran a ‘Thug Corporation ‘ changed , and that Corporation was  closed down. The leaders of thug corporation were crippled and political culture of murder and mayhem receded. However , in circumstances where thuggery was   unavoidable  that has held sway.   That was illustrated in  the Matara cinnamon club attack. 

Yet the UNP after  it captured power has proved without any doubt such past violence will  never be resorted to again even in its wildest dreams. This was borne testimony to when its own M.P. (Thevaraperuma)  was the first  to be  remanded  for his unruly conduct  following UNP’s victory.

Although there were differences , disputes and dissident groups within the party , and there were divergent  opinions expressed , at the crucial moment they all obeyed the leader . They stood together as one.

This was well illustrated when Fonseka was made common presidential candidate , and   when Gamarala was made  common presidential candidate , as well as during the recent no confidence motion .When undisciplined Gamarala was lashing out at the UNP during the last election and made an exhibition of his innate uncouth, uncivilized and  ungrateful traits , the UNP on the other hand by maintaining discipline and adhering to the  policies of the consensual government without retaliating , demonstrated to the intelligentsia and the common people it is a party that gives precedence and attaches importance  to discipline and party policies. 

There was a striking change  for the better after Ranil took  over the leadership. The UNP  which was earlier a most detested party of the Leftists became a friendly political party . So acceptable was the UNP that a hard core communist Dr. Wickremabahu too did not hesitate to mount the stage of the UNP to support it publicly.
Even the JVP is being called the ‘red elephant calf’ because the UNP is now not considered as  its main enemy. Even Leftist party representatives have  entered the national list of the UNP . This is something unprecedented in UNP’s history .Because the extreme racists in the UNP were sidelined  , the party became the most desired by other political parties representing the minorities.  UNP was the only party that  offered a political solution to the Tamil people’s issues through the provincial councils. Thousands of UNP members including the party president and secretary sacrificed their lives on that account. Our glowing tribute to them . Today we are enjoying the benefits of the PCs because of the life  sacrifices made by them .Thereby , the UNP was able to win over the hearts of the minority parties. This became clear during the recent no confidence motion . All the parties representing minorities including even Douglas Devananda who is with the UPFA voted in favor of  the UNP. 

Therefore  , today the UNP has earned the recognition and reputation as a party that is a protective shield and shelter not only to its own members but even the Leftist parties , minorities  and civil organizations .This became most obvious  vis a vis the SLFP descending to the lowliest levels recently with a meager  4 % popularity when  it became an  offshoot    of country’s leftist hypocrites and country’s right wing populism .

The UNP via its maneuvers had proved to the intelligentsia  and civilized people of SL what disgraceful politics the remaining part of the SLFP is resorting to by blindly clustering around the most  corrupt family and without even knowing are  casting votes to crippled patients.

In   this intriguing political scenario it is natural for the citizens of the country to  intently watch what are the reforms of the UNP which began on  7th and 8 th of this month. Lanka e news therefore deems it is its duty to convey to the people via this  unerring report   long though , the aims of the first of the UNP reforms conference on 7 th and 8 th which marks a  massive launch in the direction  of  fostering Democracy  across the entire country .

Party reforms- how it began 

The first of its reforms conference was held with the participation of UNP working committee members (95) , and the UNP parliamentary group. Since many of them represented  both groups the number of participants was over 100. The conference was held at the Temple Trees conference hall , and on both days the discussions which commenced  in the morning went on until  about 7.00 p.m.

Even before the conference began , Malik Samarawickrema the president of the UNP , Kabir Hashim the general secretary  and Eran Wickremeratne the treasurer of the party resigned their posts to facilitate the decision making at the conference. 

The conference was guided and governed by two  main objectives: One was restructuring the party and the other was introducing profound policy reforms.

The reports of the 3 Committees which were appointed earlier on  were  tabled at the conference .Those were ..

 The party reforms report of the Committee  headed   by Ruwan Wijayawardena , the State reforms report of the committee headed by Sajith Premadasa and the report of the Committee headed by J.C. Alawathugala pertaining to the difficulties encountered by the MPs .

The historic resolutions that were  adopted …

The most important of these reports was that of Ruwan Wijeyawardena committee. Majority of the proposals in that report received the approval . Some of the most important and historic proposals therein were …

1.The party cannot have a lifetime leader .

2.The leader shall be appointed on the votes of the working committee and parliamentary group members .

3.If the UNP party of which he/she  is the leader wins the parliamentary elections or the presidential elections , he/she  can continue as leader .However on each occasion defeat is faced , the leader shall be changed. Thereafter , based on the votes of the UNP working committee and the parliamentary group members  , a new leader shall be appointed.

4.The naming of individuals for official posts in the party by the party leader shall  cease hereafter.
5.The names should be forwarded with the approval of the working committee and the parliamentary group members , and appointments shall be decided  on their votes.

It was pointed out because the working committee and parliamentary group comprise a large number of members , they cannot meet as often as they want  to take decisions. Besides when secretive decisions have to be taken , a large number will be a hindrance , hence  a political council of 10 members from the highest echelon of the party  shall be appointed.

 (Some media had called  this political council as ‘Leadership council’ which is wrong )

Political Council 

The task of the Political council is , recommending individuals for party positions , and taking policy decisions

In other words this task which was hitherto under a single individual -the party leader will  henceforth be under the political council. 

It is    specially noteworthy   , this Political council was  appointed at the first conference itself on the votes of the party’s  working committee and parliamentary group without any  postponements .It was also decided that the necessary  amendments to party’s constitution in regard to this appointment shall be made    subsequently.  Naveen Dissanayake secured the first place and Ajith P.  Perera secured the second place when the vote was taken in this connection.
For the last (tenth) place there were three candidates who received equal  number of votes , therefore the members constituting  the Political council was increased to 12 to accommodate all three of them. The members of the council according to the votes they received  starting with Naveen who polled the highest are as follows :

1. Naveen Dissanayake
2. Ajith P.Perera 
3. Ranjith Madduma Bandara 
4. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam 
5. Harin Fernando 
6. Mangala Samaraweera
7. Ruwan Wijewardena
8. Eran Wickremeratne 
9. Gayantha Karunatileke
10. J.C. Alawatuwala
11. Nalin Bandara
12. Asoka Priyantha 

In addition to the 12  members afore-noted appointed to the Political Council, the party leader , deputy party leader and assist. leader shall be appointed based on  official powers , in which case the total number of members of the Political Council will be 15. The official term of the Council is one year. 

The present leader , deputy leader and assist. leader are Ranil Wickremesinghe , Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake respectively . Yet  , these  three leaders not being named as part of the  political council is most significant  .  Following a voting  in the future ,those who secure  the  three  posts will be appointed to the Political council for one year. The  Council’s official term is one year. 

There was also a proposal that  two deputy leaders and three assist. leaders shall be appointed. Sajith who became suddenly alert at this suggestion said , if there is going to be two deputy leaders he would resign from the post of deputy leader. Thereafter there was no   more discussion on that .

Three against Ranil but no alternative choice…

The next important topic of discussion at this two day conference was , whether the present leader shall continue as leader or not.  Only three participants Harin Fernando, Ruwan Wijegunawardena and Sujeewa Senasinghe who  said Ranil Wickremesinghe shall resign and a new leader  be appointed. 

Though divergent  opinions were expressed ,the majority including the three who said Ranil shall be replaced could not  propose an alternative leader . None said , ‘I am suitable for the post of leader’ .Moreover,  it was expressed while Ranil Wickremesinghe is the P.M., removing him from that post is not  practical . Consequently that discussion ended there . It is noteworthy , though three powerful youthful leaders proposed that Ranil be replaced , nothing was done to bulldoze that  . That  was a most salutary democratic signal.

The two day party reforms conference ended on a most welcome  note . It was proposed ,the leader , general secretary  and treasurer who have now resigned their posts shall continue to act in those respective posts until the 30 th of this month.
All posts will be null and void after 30 th April . The nomination for the posts , policy decision making and party constitutional amendments in the future  will be done  by the new Political council. The proposals made by the new political council must be approved by the working committee and the parliamentary group via voting. Everything is to be finalized  on 30 th April , and the ratification is to be obtained at the upcoming convention.

Based on these reforms  , the charges which were mounted hitherto against the UNP leader  that he was a dictator , and takes unilateral decisions ought to end  . Besides , those who maligned Ranil cannot now say the group  appointed to the  political council  on the votes  are Ranil’s  henchmen , specially  because two of them who wanted Ranil to be ousted are representing the council. However , the Council being constituted of Sinhala members only does not speak well for the UNP party or is in conformity with its name .
No matter what , the UNP reforms are  clearly an index that from  its  very outset it is a giant leap forward  for and on behalf of the Democracy loving people.

Chandra Pradeep

Translated by Jeff 

by     (2018-04-10 12:45:28)

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