The two factions are of the view that contesting separately will spell political ruin for them, and that the ultimate aim should be to form a SLFP government in 2020.
For that, having rivalries or making criticisms against each other should not happen, they will agree at the discussions, says a top figure in the joint opposition who is party to the talks.
There are no serious political issues to prevent a union between the two factions and even amidst the prevailing differences of opinions, they can achieve victory, he notes.
SLFP sources say that as a confidence building measure, president Maithripala Sirisena is expected to grant a responsible official position in the party for his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa or give him a dignified farewell from politics, and adopt a lenient approach with regard to the accusations against the Rajapaksa family members.
Also, Chamal Rajapaksa is likely to be given a top position in the party.
The ex-president’s remark to Colombo-based foreign journalists a few days ago that he is willing to be the prime minister under president Sirisena even conditionally, and that the SLFP will gain power this year is said to be the result of these discussions.
Basil Rajapaksa suspended the activities of the new party and left the country in order to pave the way for the talks.
However, the Mahinda faction seniors say they should not grab power from the UNP in any way, as the SLFP will not be able to manage the serious economic crisis faced by the country at present.
Therefore, the UNP should be given the chance to resolve it within itself, they have told leaders of the two factions.