This was decided during the UNP’s senior party leaders’ meeting chaired by Premier Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday.
The meeting was attended by Ministers Malik Samarawickreme, Kabir Hashim, John Amaratunge, Gamini Jayawickreme Perera, Ravi Karunanayake, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Lakshman Kiriella and Vajira Abeywardena.
The Prime Minister had informed the senior leaders that he accepted the letter signed by 54 MPs of the party seeking the presidential candidacy for Minister Premadasa. But, he was of the opinion that the candidate should have been selected by the UNP’s Working Committee and parliament group together.
Sources said that the participants at the meeting had requested PM Wickremesinghe to take the final decision and name the candidate with immediate effect since the UNF was facing severe problems due to the delay in nominating a candidate.
Meanwhile, the party leaders of the Democratic National Front will meet the Prime Minister for a special discussion today ahead of the face-to-face meeting between him and Minister Premadasa scheduled for tomorrow.