May 04, 2018

More deputy ministerial positions for the UNP? Featured

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has promised deputy ministerial positions for several backbenchers of the UNP in order to appease them, say Sirikotha sources.

He gave them the promise when the no-confidence motion was moved against him.

In the cabinet reshuffle, the cabinet membership was reduced from 47 to 42 and the deputy ministerial positions allotted for the UNP have now been filled.

Fulfill promises immediately

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‘We cannot go to the villages’ – MPs tell Ranil

Meanwhile, there is criticism within the party against the reorganizing process, under which only a few positions were changed.

The MPs are pressurizing Wickremesinghe to immediately fulfill the promises he has given them.

They want the full implementation of the Ruwan Wijewardena committee report, which the PM has promised to do in a statement that also said the party constitution would be amended if necessary.

Main recommendations of the 17-member committee are democratizing the party constitution and that the leader should be elected after a major election.

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A leader to succeed Wickremesinghe

A member of the committee has told BBC Sinhala Service that Wickremesinghe should name a leader to succeed him.

The recommendations include empowering the deputy leader with party promotional activities, appointing several high profile assistant leaders and appointing an MP as the general secretary.

Creating new positions for better communication between the party and the public, strengthening international relations and setting up a team of around 50 to handle social media are some of the other suggestions.

A CEO & strengthening Sinhala Buddhist foundation

A full-time CEO who is not and MP, and capable of coordinating from the grassroots level is also recommended.

The Wijewardena committee also recommends creating a strong leadership with a Sinhala Buddhist foundation.

Backbenchers say only a few of these recommendations have been implemented.

The party leadership has responded by saying that for a full change, amending the party constitution was required, and that it would be time-consuming.