A crucial United National Party (UNP) meeting at the party headquarters ended following a heated exchange of words between rival camps.
The meeting was held to decide on the UNP leader post with Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa seeking to replace current leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
However Wickremesinghe’s camp and Premadasa’s camp failed to reach a consensus.
Wickremesinghe refused to step down and instead proposed the formation of a leadership council which will include himself, Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
However, Premadasa’s team refused to agree and former Minister Harin Fernando threatened to resign from the party.
A vote was later called for by Premadasa’s team but Wickremesinghe abruptly ended the meeting and walked out.
Premadasa’s camp however remained and an unofficial vote was taken in which 52 of those present voted for Premadasa and no one against.
UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam later announced that a final decision on the party leadership issue will be reached on 24 January. (Colombo Gazette)