July 11, Colombo: Members of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), who were opposed to allowing the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to be nominated to contest the upcoming general elections, have allied with the United national Party to form a new front.
Several SLFP stalwarts and former UPFA constituent party, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) which was recently renamed as the United National Front for Good Governance along with several others leftist parties have formed a new front with the United National Party to contest the upcoming election.
The group includes the former ministers M. K. D. S. Gunawardena, Rajitha Senaratne, and Arjuna Ranatunga who supported the President Sirisena at the presidential elections in January.
The new front, National Front for Good Governance led by the UNP will however, contest the August 17 elections under the elephant symbol.
The decision was officially announced Saturday and a proposal was presented at the UNP party convention that is being held at the Campbell Park this morning to contest as a broad front for the election.
The UNP proposed setting up the front and later agreed to register the United National Front after the August 17 Parliament election.
Minister Gunawardena said that the President has been informed that he along with Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Arjuna Ranatunga would withdraw from the SLFP and contest along with the UNP at the forthcoming election. Reportedly, eight more MPs were to take a similar decision.
Gunawardena said that Minister Champika Ranawaka and Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera will also likely to contest from the UNP.
The main Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the newly formed Tamil Progressive Alliance have also decided to contest the election with the UNP.
Besides the three ministers, Western Provincial Councilor Hirunika Premachandra, MPs Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Hemal Gunasekera, Neomal Perera, Wijaya Dahanayake, Earl Gunasekara, Sarath Amunugama and Duminda Dissanayake have reportedly not yet signed UPFA nominations.
The group had become disillusioned with the President after he had allowed the UPFA to give nominations not only to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa but also to MPs and ministers of the former government who were charged with corruption and fraud.