Crucial UNP convention today: Vote on extending leader’s term to six years

by Zacki Jabbar

The stage has been set for a showdown at today’s 54th UNP Convention, which will be called upon to vote on extending the leader’s term to six years from the current duration of one year.

The annual conference is to  be staged amidst unprecedented security measures at ‘Sirikotha’ in a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s damage caused to party headquarters by a stone throwing mob, after results of the leadership polls were announced. 

Last minute attempts by the rebel group to obtain a court injunctions to prevent the Convention being held, failed when the Mount Lavinia and Nugegoda District courts rejected a total of three petitions.  

Legal analysts said that the proposed amendments including a proviso entitled ‘Radical Changes’ which were very likely to be adopted, would further strengthen the position of incumbent leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Under the present party constitution the leader can appoint only the Secretary and Treasurer, while the Chairman, Deputy Leader and National Organiser had to be elected. The proposed amendment seeks to give him the right to appoint all the office bearers, party sources noted.

General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said that 5,800 members had been invited on the basis that was announced as early as January this year.

Three MPs, two Provincial Councillors, 11 local councillors and 15 other ordinary members, whose party memberships had been suspended for various reasons, including the stoning of the party headquarters during the last convention, had not been invited, he said. 

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