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UNP leadership: RW to step down

*Meetings with leadership contenders from today
*Akila, Ravi, Daya, and Vajira enter leadership race
*Ruwan and Navin to also present proposals
*Final decision by the Working Committee

By Our Political Editor
United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had yesterday (10) announced his intention of stepping down from the party leadership and is to meet with party members interested in coming forward for the leadership race from today (11) onwards.

Wickremesinghe has requested party members interested in entering the leadership race to meet him from today onwards with their proposals for the restructuring of the party.

Speaking to The Morning, a senior UNP source explained that Wickremesinghe had yesterday met with a group of party members and during the meeting had expressed his desire to step down from the party leadership.
Wickremesinghe had then said that he wanted the names of contenders for the post of UNP leader.
“Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Ravi Karunanayake, Daya Gamage, and Vajira Abeywardena raised their hands and said they wanted to contest for the party leadership,” the source said.

Gamage however, had said that although he would put forward his name for the party leadership, he did not want to contest against any party member and would accept the UNP leadership if it is offered to him with a consensus.

Karunanayake had meanwhile said that there were several other members who should also present their proposals for the party, including former MPs Ruwan Wijewardene and Navin Dissanayake.

Finally, Wickremesinghe had requested all party members interested in putting forward their names for the party leadership to personally meet with him from today onwards with their proposals for restructuring the party.

“The proposals will then be put forward to the party’s Working Committee for a final decision,” the UNP source said.
Meanwhile, UNP General Secretary Kariyawasam told the media yesterday that Wickremesinghe had informed the party seniors that he would be stepping down from the party leadership.

According to Kariyawasam, names of several individuals have been shortlisted for the post of UNP leader.

According to Kariyawasam, the names shortlisted are Karunanayake, Gamage, Abeywardena, and himself.