United National Party (UNP) Leader, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has summoned a group of UNP ministers and parliamentarians for a meeting at Temple Trees tomorrow (9) at 9 a.m.

The reason for summoning the meeting has not been informed to the UNP parliamentarians. However, sources from Temple Trees said that Wickremesinghe’s attention is focused on a petition that is being signed by a group of UNP parliamentarians.

'The Leader' learns that a letter is being signed by UNP parliamentarians to call on the Prime Minister to immediately convene a meeting of the party’s parliamentary group to make a final decision on the UNP candidate at the next presidential election.

The campaign to collect signatures for this letter has been initiated by Ministers Ajith P. Perera, Sujeewa Senasinghe, Eran Wickremaratne and Nalin Bandara.

A State Minister involved in this campaign told 'The Leader' that as of yesterday, a majority of the 77 UNP parliamentarians have signed the letter. UNP Deputy Leader, Minister Sajith Premadasa has also signed the letter.

Ranil’s stance

However, the Prime Minister has firmly stated that the presidential candidate would be decided only after the formation of the proposed political alliance and reaching a consensus on its policies.

Nevertheless, except for the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) led by Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, all other coalition parties of the incumbent government have informed the Prime Minister that they would not sign the alliance agreement until the UNP announces its presidential candidate.

A State Minister told 'The Leader' that the Prime Minister has no option but to adhere to the call of a majority of the UNP and coalition parties to announce the presidential candidate before forming the alliance.