Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga has initiated negotiations with the United National Party and other parties on contesting the election from a front against Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Ranatunga, a strong critic of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, was elected to parliament in 2010 from the Democratic National Alliance. Following the election of Maithripala Sirisena as President, he was appointed SLFP Chief Organizer in Attanagalla, the traditional stronghold of the Bandaranaike family. He continuously opposed giving nomination to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from the UPFA.
Once the UPFA decision to grant Rajapaksa nomination became apparent, Ranatunga initiated negotiations on possible alternatives.
Ranatunga was among over thirty prominent SLFP members who had earlier threatened to walk out of the party if Rajapaksa was given nominations.