Suspension of UNP MPs, PC members to be lifted if  they apologise

by Zacki Jabbar

The three UNP MPs and two provincial councilors, who had defied a Working Committee decision and attended the October 18, Hyde Park rally, to re-launch the political career of former army commander Sarath Fonseka, are to be pardoned, provided they apologize and agree to toe the party line in the future.

Informed sources told The Island last night that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had informed party seniors that he had no objection to the suspension imposed on parliamentarians Palitha Ranga Bandara, Ashoka Abeysinghe and Palitha Thevarapperuma and Provincial Councilors Maithree Gunaratne and Shiral Lakthillake being lifted, if they appeared before the Disciplinary Committee and pledged not to go around promoting other political parties at the expense of the UNP, which has launched a concerted effort to recapture power at the center.

Suspension of...

Yesterday’s defection of Anjan Umma MP, from the National Freedom Front, a constituent member of the UPFA to the UNP, was an indication that dissent and dissatisfaction had taken root in the ruling alliance and this was not the time to be destabilising the main opposition party, Wickremesinghe had pointed out.

The sources said that Tilak Marapana, who heads the Disciplinary Committee, had been asked to fix an early date for the suspended MPs and Provincial Councilors to seek a conditional, amicable settlement, so that their membership could be restored prior to the annual convention scheduled for December 1.

Ten Local Government members, who had also attended the Fonseka rally, were under investigation, but an apology could see them back in the party fold, the sources noted.

The UNP Working Committee on Tuesday resolved that invitations for the annual convention will be based on the number of branches that each of the chief organisers had constituted in their electorates by October 12. The basis agreed upon was as follows; 85 invitations for those who had established 100 percent of the stipulated branches, 50 invitations for 60 percent of branches constituted, 40 invitations for those who had established 40 percent of the branches and those who had not constituted a single branch will be permitted to bring along ten members.

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