In a dramatic turn of events involving the top rung of political entities, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK), who had talks with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in London, had advised the latter to quit the contest, likely to be held in January, to elect a President, well informed sources in London disclosed.
Kumaratunga had told Wickremesinghe that the time was opportune to scrap the executive presidential system and it was wise to move towards finding a common candidate acceptable to all political parties.
Earlier, Wickremesinghe, on meeting the former President, had expressed his desire to contest the next presidential election and sought her support for his candidature.
Dismissing Wickremesinghe’s request, Kumaratunga had instructed the UNP leader to concentrate on the move to field a common candidate. After that, candidate wins and scraps the executive system, she pointed out, it would pave the way for Wickremesinghe to come to Parliament as Executive Prime Minister.
Prior to leaving for London, to attend the Conservative Party 2014, conference, Wickremesinghe dispatched a team, headed by his General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, to meet Kumaratunga in Colombo to inform her that he (Wickremesinghe) will contest the next presidential election.
This team met Kumaratunge twice last week but the response received was in the negative as Kumaratunga pursued the idea of fielding a common candidate. However, she had not ruled out the possibility of being a candidate at the next presidential election.