Karu Jayasuriya

Karu Jayasuriya

Karu Jayasuriya (born September 29, 1940) is Sri Lanka's Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs. He is the former deputy Leader of the United National Party (UNP), the main Opposition party of Sri Lanka. He is also a Member of Parliament representing the Gampaha District. He had his early education at Ananda College, Colombo.In President Ranasinghe Premadasa's government, Karu Jayasuriya was appointed as the Sri Lanka Ambassador to Germany.

A businessman by profession, he was thrust into active politics in 1996 when he became party chairman at the request of his leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. In 1997, he was elected Mayor of Colombo by a large majority. Following his efficient administration of the country's most populous city, the party nominated him to be Chief Minister of the Western Province, which he lost narrowly. At that election he created a new precedent by refusing to publish posters, saying it promoted violence and polluted the city he worked hard to keep clean. At the General Elections of 2000, he was elected to Parliament from the Gampaha District with a large number of preferential votes even though his party was defeated. After his remarkable showing, he was elected Deputy Leader of the UNP.

Following the victory of the UNP at the General Elections in 2001, Karu Jayasuriya was appointed Minister of Power and Energy. Having inherited a challenging ministry he ensured a continued power supply and commenced reforms of the heavily indebted Electricity Board. With President Chandrika Kumaratunga's abrupt dissolution of parliament in April 2004, and the UNP's defeat at the ensuing election, he once again returned to the front benches of the Opposition. At the Presidential Elections of 2005 where Wickremesinghe was the party's candidate, Jayasuriya was named as the nominee for the premiership in the event of the party's success. As an unofficial running mate he traveled widely, actively campaigning for his leader.

Wickremesinghe narrowly lost the election and following his defeat there were requests by a section of the party for the leadership to be handed over to Jayasuriya. In the meanwhile Wickremesinghe and Rajapakse signed a Memorandum of Understaning pledging to co-operate on the peace process. Jayasuriya and his supporters insisted on taking a step further and joining the government formally by accepting ministerial office, which was strongly opposed by Wickremesinghe. The ensuing power struggle, resulted in a bitter and acrimonious war of attrition between the two.

After several abortive attempts to oust Wickremesinghe from the Party Leadership, Jayasuriya led a group of 18 Parliamentarians including several party front-liners in crossing over the government side. In the cabinet reshuffle after the crossover, he was appointed as Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs.

See also

*Ranil Wickremesinghe
*United National Party
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lankan_Non_Career_Diplomats Sri Lankan Non Career Diplomats]

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