the United National Party was formed on the 6th September of 1946 uniting all ethinicities and religions to assume the leadership of Ceylon after it’s independence from the British empire. D.S. Senanyake was the founding father of the party, he was followed by his son Dudley Senanayake & Sir John Kotelawala into the UNP leadership as well as the Premiership of Ceylon. All these three leaders created a huge revival in the agriculture industry which led to the development of rural areas. J.R. Jayewardene was the next party leader. He achieved a 5/6 power in the 1977 general election by the people who were sick of socialist doctrines. JR became the first executive president of Sri Lanka and was influential in the heavy development work carried out after the victory. UNP introduced a free market economy while building one of the world’s top 10 ports….!!! The unthinkable Mahaweli project which was supposed to be completed within 30 years was done within 6 years. The Gam Udawa was another novel theme which created planned villages making life better for the rural Sri Lankans. Ranasinghe Premadasa assumed the UNP leadership and Presidency in 1989. During his tenure the party split into two due to Premadasa’s feud with Gamini Dissanayake & Lalith Athulathmudali. But even during that time the UNP government continued Gam Udawa, Janasaviya and other projects for the benefit of our citizens. It was during this period that Internet & Mobile Technology as well as Economic Process Zones were built. On the 1st of May 1993 President Premadasa was assasinated by an LTTE terrorist called Babu. D.B. Wijetunga became the president and leader of the UNP after that and lead the remerger with Gamini Dissanayake’s DUNF. During this time the East was fully liberated from the LTTE. At the 1994 general election UNP lost in front of Chandrika Kumaratunga’s new hope, People’s Alliance. After the loss UNP elected Gamini Dissanayake to be it’s heir apparent and designate leader despite the fact that he was not part of the party for couple of years. This went to show the democracy within the UNP. At the 1994 Presidential election Gamini Dissanayake was the UNP candidate. He started off trailing votes to Chandrika but quickly caught up. At the speed he was gaining the hearts and minds of Sri Lankans he would’ve been the 4th President of Sri Lanka if not for the catastrophic Thotalanga bombing which took away the lives of most of the UNP frontliners. Ranil Wickremasinghe became the next leader of the UNP. He was the 1st person in Sri Lankan history to become a leader of a main political party with a local university degree. In 1999, a failed terrorist attack on Chandrika Kumaratunga spoiled what seemed to be a sure victory for Ranil.. In 2001 the UNP came back to power and took to rebuilding the economy while keeping the LTTE trapped in a global net while the military was strengthened. Despite the economic development Ranil failed to give enough perks to the people and his lack of marketability lead to Chandrika forging an alliance with the radical JVP to topple the UNP govt prematurely. In 2005 again Ranil was spoilt of a Presidential victory when the LTTE engineered a mass election boycott which ensured Mahinda Rajapakse’s victory. The UNP is currently in the opposition knowin that sooner or later their time will come to rule Sri Lanka
- UNP is the largest single political party of Sri Lanka, and the only party to form a govt without any alliances
- While the leadership of SLFP has remained with the “Radala” caste who is born with a silver spoon in their mouths despite their cries of socialism, the UNP leadership has been held by two ordinary citizens who had nothing to do with noblety. Ranasinghe Premadasa was a son of a humble businessman while D.B. Wijetunga was a rural cooperative inspector from Pilimathalawa.
- UNP believes in national unity, democracy, a mixed economy which is biased towards the free market economy, devolution of power, individual freedom among other things.
H Niles Perera – April,2009