Maoist move makes UML stare at crisis

  • Could take a decision to withdraw its support to Oli government today
  • New alliance on cards with Nepali Congress taking the centre stage
- Post Report, Kathmandu
We will discuss with the UML on Thursday about our party-led unity government. If the UML refuses to assist, we could pull out our support- Dina Nath Sharma, Maoist spokesman

May 5, 2016-A key coalition partner’s sudden decision, which many believe is a well-planned move, on Wednesday left the governing party, the CPN-UML, scrambling, as it sensed the possibility of the UCPN (Maoist) pulling out its support. 

In one more step towards changing the government, the UCPN (Maoist) on Wednesday decided to urge the ruling UML to join a consensus government under Maoist leadership. The UCPN (Maoist), the third largest party in Parliament, however, stopped short of saying it is withdrawing its support to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli government. The decision to form a consensus government under Maoist leadership was taken by a standing committee meeting of the UCPN (Maoist)

Party leaders have said that they would like to hold one more round of negotiations with PM Oli’s party before formally taking a decision about withdrawing support.

“We have decided to hold discussion with the UML tomorrow on a consensus government led by our party,” said UCPN (Maoist) Spokesperson Dina Nath Sharma. “If the UML refuses to extend its support, we could withdraw our support to the government.”

The Maoist move has now set the stage for frantic negotiations among the political parties, with the main opposition Nepali Congress taking the centre stage, to cobble a new alliance together to replace the Oli government. 

According to sources, the premise for the dramatic turn of events was set during NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba’s meeting with UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday when the NC chief had offered to extend support to form a Maoist-led government. 

The UML, the second largest party in Parliament with 183 seats, had formed the government under Oli with the support from the UCPN (Maoist), which has 83 seats, and other parties. Oli was elected prime minister on October 11 last year securing 338 votes. The moment the Maoist party withdraws its support, the UML government will be in crisis. 

Deuba is said to have handed over a blank sheet of paper with the signatures of 207 NC lawmakers to Dahal as evidence of NC’s support, according to the sources.

In his recent informal meetings with Dahal, Deuba is learnt to have asked the former to take government leadership.

Though the recent political development appear to have unfolded rapidly and suddenly, leaders say negotiations got under way soon after Deuba was elected NC president. 

After returning from India last month, Deuba expedited talks with Dahal about forming a new government, according to NC sources.

Along with Dahal, Barsha Man Pun and Krishna Bahadur Mahara were involved in the talks with Deuba, Bimalendra Nidhi and Krishna Prasad Sitaula among others. Government change is possible only if Dahal is given the post of prime minister, a Congress leader told the Post requesting anonymity. An understanding has been reached between the NC and the UCPN (Maoist) not to let the Oli government present its policies and programmes and fiscal budget, the leader said. 

Of late, the UCPN (Maoist) has been critical of government’s working style, especially about its failure to address the Madhes crisis and failure to speed up reconstruction and curb black-marketeering and corruption. The Maoist party was also pressing the government to intervene to make sure that war-era cases are strictly dealt with by the transitional justice mechanisms. 

Published: 05-05-2016 07:53

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