The UNP’s Working Committee meeting held on Friday (21) at the party headquarters saw fireworks fly between members of the old guard and Party Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, over the composition of the Party.
Former Assistant Leader, Ravi Karunanayake, raised concerns with the Party’s decision to proceed with Party activities via online platforms. Speaking at the meeting Karunanayake said that social media campaigns would not win support for the party.
Responding to these claims Wickremesinghe stated that the youth in the country no longer support the political system and that the UNP must not only find new ways of communicating with the youth, but also new faces. This led to further criticism from Karunanayake who attacked Wickremesinghe for appointing several new young faces to prominent positions in the party.
In a surprise move Karunanayake claimed that the party was ignoring its senior members for younger members who lacked experience.
Karunanayake was further enraged when it was learnt a former Working Committee member had not had his membership to the committee renewed for 2022.
Sources within the Working Committee explained that this member had been actively causing divisions within the party and was taking no active role in rebuilding the party’s grassroot organisation. The source further explained that the Committee had taken decision that any member who was not actively contributing to the party would no longer be given positions of responsibility.
Karunanayake was among a number of former UNP MPs who were unable to retain their Parliamentary seats at the 2020 General-Election. The UNP has since seen a restructuring of the party with a number of young members being put forward by the leadership in the party.