15 December, 2017

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WikiLeaks: UNP Leader Under Fire From Within His Party – 2004 US Ambassador

“UNP leader and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is under fire from members of his own party who are seeking to clip his wings and/or remove him as party leader. The discontent stems from the view of many party members that Wickremesinghe led the party poorly in the April election in which the UNP was defeated” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and discuses the UNP’s internal crisis after the 2005 April parliamentary election. The cable is signed by the US Ambassador to Colombo Jeffrey J. Lunstead on May 12, 2004.

The ambassador wrote; “Despite the heat, Wickremesinghe seems set to hang on as party leader, as there are no clear challengers to his rule at this time. In the mid- to longer term, if the party is to improve its standing, it will have to open up to a new generation of leaders.”

Read the relevant part of the cable below;

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000770 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SA, SA/INS, INR/NESA 

NSC FOR E. MILLARD 

E.O. 12958:      DECL: 05-12-14
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL CE
SUBJECT:  After recent election defeat, UNP leader
Wickremesinghe under fire from within his party 

Refs:  Colombo 760, and previous 

(U) Classified by Ambassador Jeffrey J. Lunstead.
Reasons 1.5 (b,d). 

¶1.  (C) SUMMARY:  UNP leader and former prime minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe is under fire from members of his
own party who are seeking to clip his wings and/or
remove him as party leader.  The discontent stems from
the view of many party members that Wickremesinghe led
the party poorly in the April election in which the UNP
was defeated.  Despite the heat, Wickremesinghe seems
set to hang on as party leader, as there are no clear
challengers to his rule at this time.  In the mid- to
longer term, if the party is to improve its standing, it
will have to open up to a new generation of leaders.
END SUMMARY.
LUNSTEAD

Related cable;

WikiLeaks: Ranil Is A Perennial Loser As Well As A Perennial Survivor – US

WikiLeaks: US Skeptical About Ranil’s Claim That He Has Tremendous Grassroots Support

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Ranil is a educated honest Politician free of corruption and bribery but lack people skills. It is very unfortunate that he could not develop this skill, and hang on as the most unpopular leader of UNP both within and out. Irrespective of the fact that the democratic Sri Lanka was slowly but surely turned into a corrupt lawless Banana Republic, he should have respected democracy and step down from leadership after loosing the first Election. He should take the full responsibility for all the loses and allowing the corrupt Regime to ruin the Country.

    • 0
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      Agree with you 100%. Like I said somewhere before, Ranil is more to blame than MR for the pathetic state of the country. It is because Ranil has robbed the country of an opposition. He continues attacking Sirasa, but the truth of the matter is that unless he reconciles with Kili Mahendran at some point, the UNP will not have any media base at all. This is why Sujeewa Serasinghe contradicted Mangala Samaraweera in Parliament yesterday by saying that Sirasa had in fact helped the UNP throughout and whose continued support is needed.

      Of course Ranil being the goat that he is, doesn’t understand this. How can you win an election, when the only channel that the Sri Lankan public perceive as anti-government (I use ‘perceived’ here because I don’t know whether Sirasa is in fact anti-government)is constantly at war with the Opposition Leader ?

      • 0
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        “I don’t know whether Sirasa is in fact anti-government)is constantly at war with the Opposition Leader ?”

        You dont know anything, truth is there are no anti government media in sri lanka. Sirasa is doing a contract for the government.
        Kili Maharaja got angry with Ranil after He refused to give 2 national list MP posts to sirasa. Sirasa is putting cutout saying ranil should go. I have never seen a Tv attacking a opposition leader like this. Mervin silva was right attacking sirasa. Do not worry they will get the treatment in the future.

  • 0
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    why this is after 9 years? CT is going to be like another sirasa

  • 0
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    Leadership is just only the external manifestation of the deep problems within the UNP. It is the absence of any policy to inspire people. So it is the party as whole that is responsible for its marginalization.

    They just don’t seem to have any answers to any of the country’s problems. Ranil is used simply as a scapegoat. People are not fools to elect UNP to power in spite of the fact that people are looking desperately for an alternative.

    Sooriasegaram

  • 0
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    Truth cannot be hidden forever. The blunder Ranil Wickremasinghe made was to get around or been in the company of some unscrupulous and opportunist Tamil politicians. Had he got round some educated and cultured Tamil politicians (who command some respect within the Sinhalese community), he would have been successful. Anyway I hope he will bounce back.

    • 0
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      Further, Ranil Wickremasinghe should have joined hands with Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake in those days when they against R.Premadasa.

  • 0
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    April 2004 election was entirely winnable as by December 2003 populace was with UNP and RW lost it,that was CBK times and he continues in his merry way with his merry band todate.

    Inner voices tell him that people will suddenly wake up and vote him as Prez!
    If Mangala or anyone else was UNP leader he would have brought the fight on to canvass public opinion daily.

    Ex-Maldivian Prez Nasheed did that,Tony Abbott did same and won too.

  • 0
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    We Sri Lankans mostly do not, wish ill or wish for bad things to happen to any body. But having said that, what would each one of you feel if you suddenly heard that, Ranil Wickramasinghe got a heart attack. This man has ruined this country with the help of the Rajapaksa family. He is the greediest pig alive. He has to go one way or another,

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