Following the debacle that the party suffered at the recently concluded local government elections, senior members of the United National Party (UNP) and close confidantes of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has urged him to prevail on President Maithripala Sirisena to allow the UNP to form a new government on its own.
According to party sources Ministers Malik Samarawickrema, Kabir Hashim, Mangala Samaraweera and a few others had met with Wickremesinghe and told him that the main reason for the party’s poor performance was the fact that it had not been allowed to implement its economic policies.
They had urged Wickremesinghe to break free from President Sirisena and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which fared much worse. To this end they asked the UNP leader not to renew the ‘unity agreement’ between the two parties which had elapsed on December 31, 2017.
Instead, they wanted Wickremesinghe to ask the President to give them power to implement their economic programme unfettered so that they have an opportunity to go before the people with a less cluttered and confusing track-record.
Wickremesinghe, according to sources, had agreed and was due to take up the matter with the President who he was to meet later in the day.
The UNP has 106 seats in Parliament, a tad short of the 113 required to enjoy an absolute majority. However, Wickremesinghe’s inner circle believe that the party has enough numbers to form a government and implement policies more effectively provided that parties such as the TNA and JVP do not play spoiler.