Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) member S B Dissanayake says former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has the support of a majority of the members in the SLFP.
Speaking in Kandy, Dissanayake said that the defection of a few SLFP members to support the United National Party (UNP) will not hurt the party.
He said that while there are a few SLFP members who are supporting President Maithripala Sirisena, there is a majority of SLFP members who still back former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Dissanayake said that after several rounds of talks between the SLFP members who back Sirisena and those who support Rajapaksa, it was decided to contest the August 17 Parliament election with the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in order to ensure the unity of the party.
He said that some differences of opinion had however arisen during the discussions and those who failed to agree with the stand taken, had decided to support the UNP at the election and after the election they will consider working with the UPFA again.
Dissanayake said that the Jathika Hela Urumaya and Minister Rajitha Senaratne played a key role in ensuring a change took place at the January 8 Presidential election and their contributions cannot be forgotten.
However he said the goal of the UPFA is now to defeat the UNP at the election and form the next Government under a new Prime Minister.
Dissanayake, who had joined the SLFP-UNP coalition Government under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe this year after supporting Rajapaksa at the January 8 election, said the Government had failed in several fronts, including in ensuring the development of the country was taken forward.
He said that after the August 17 Parliament election, the Parliamentarian who has the majority support of Parliament will be appointed as the new Prime Minister and he will work with the President to take the country forward. (Colombo Gazette)