Colombo, Apr 8 (PTI) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will continue as the leader of the United National Party (UNP), according to his aide.

The Working Committee of the UNP has decided that the party leadership will not change.

UNP spokesman and minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said that both the working committee of the party and the parliamentary group felt that the time was not opportune to introduce a leadership change.

“The Prime Minister will continue to lead the party with other drastic changes in the party set up,” Karunathilaka said.

Wickremesinghe, 68, last week comfortably defeated a no-trust motion moved by the Joint Opposition against him.

Wickremesinghe, who leads a national unity government in alliance with President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), received 122 votes against the motion while 76 favoured the motion to oust him.

Karunathilaka said a special committee appointed through a secret ballot yesterday would be entrusted with the key decision making in the party. “It will be a collective decision making process than individuals taking decisions”.

A two-day session of the party started yesterday to discuss urgent reforms. There was speculation that at the end of the session there will be changes including replacing Wickremesinghe, who has been leading the party since 1994.

He had come under pressure to resign after his party lost the local council elections to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s new party Sri Lanka People’s Front in February.

Wickremesinghe had pledged reforms in the party in response to pressures and said that UNP would be restructured to give more responsibilities to its next tier of leadership.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.