The UNP has authorised the expulsion of 115 members following its Working Committee’s decision to terminate the membership of those who sought nominations from the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) for the upcoming General Elections.
According to UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, the Working Committee, which convened on Tuesday, decided to strip party membership from 54 persons out of the 102 suspended members following an investigation. He further stated that the Committee would be reconvened to assess the fate of the other suspended members. A further 61 local government ministers have also had their membership revoked.
Kariyawasam maintained that the party was examining additional disciplinary measured against the 200 members. On this matter he stated;
“Once disciplinary action is taken and the Election Commission informed, we hope to recruit new members”.
This decision follows the rejection, by Colombo’s Court of Appeals, an appeal submitted by
The move comes days after the Appeal Court of Colombo rejected an appeal submitted by SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara on the matter. The Appeal Court rejected the claim without hearing and ordered Bandara to pay Rs. 25,000 as court expense. The SJB has stated that they will continue their appeal in the Civil Appeal Court.
Financial Times LK reports that this court case is the “latest twist in a long-running leadership dispute between veteran UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, which has been ongoing since before the Presidential Election of November 2019”.
In the run-up to the election both parties have made overtures towards Sinhala Buddhist nationalists. Sri Lanka’s former finance minister and senior United National Party official, Ravi Karunayake, said his party had now been cleansed of those who had been “speaking against Buddhism… and standing up only for the minorities”. Whereas, the SJB manifesto details how they would ensure Sri Lanka’s already bloated defence budget “will be enhanced to prioritise the modernisation of the intelligence agencies, police and security forces”.
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