Samaraweera made this statement at a workshop for United National Party (UNP) members recently elected to local government bodies in the Matara District.
He added that it is humorous that it is those who are with the Joint Opposition (JO) that is calling for Wickremesinghe’s ouster as the Leader of the UNP.
Samaraweera also referred to the case of Sirimavo Bandaranaike who did not step down as the SLFP Leader in the late nineties in the face of a challenge mounted by her son Anura: ‘It was not that she coveted the position but she understood the danger of the party disintegrating without a proper leadership.’
He confessed that it was he who had orchestrated a poster campaign under the theme ‘Ranil Cannot’ or ‘Ranil is not Capable’ in the run up to the 1999 Presidential Election when Chandrika Kumaratunga sought re-election.
‘We knew that in fact Ranil was capable and that he would be our biggest threat. It’s the same situation today. It is very clear that Ranil Wickremesinghe is the most suitable presidential candidate.’