Will quitting left coalition be a right decision?

  • maoist centre in dilemma
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 9, 2016-

As the governing CPN-UML and its key coalition partner, the CPN (Maoist Centre) continue to bicker over change of guard, several leaders, who were instrumental in forging a deal to instate the current left alliance, say the UML-led government is “unlikely to fall anytime soon unless there is a major shift in power-sharing equation”. 

Maoist leaders say leading a national unity government is still the top priority of the party but are quick to make it clear that they will not pull out of the current coalition “unless a consensus is forged”. “Leading a national unity government is still our party’s main priority, but I don’t see that happening now,” said Narayankaji Shrestha, vice-chairman of the Maoist Centre. 

Shrestha, who had played a key role in the formation of the incumbent government, hinted that his party would continue to collaborate with the UML “as long as the UML honours the agendas based on which the coalition was formed”. He added that his party would play a constructive role in completion of the remaining work of the peace process, implementation of the new constitution and holding election(s). 

The Maoist leadership, which was earlier calling for change in government based on the so-called “gentleman’s agreement”, however, has toned down its rhetoric of late after the Nepali Congress, the largest party in Parliament, gave the cold shoulder to the Maoist Centre. The NC, which is also exploring possibilities of forming government under its own leadership, has not yet responded to Maoist Centre’s proposal. 

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is also trying to convert the incumbent government into a consensus one, has made it clear that he will step down only after a consensus is forged. 

UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai said the coalition would remain intact unless parties agree on a national consensus government. “The UML wants to turn this government into a national unity one. But we are open to discuss other alternatives,” said Bhattarai.  

Maoist leaders fear that pulling out of the current coalition would be tantamount to opening way for another majority government as neither parties (NC and UML) appear keen on backing the Maoists for a national consensus government. The Maoist leadership now is also discussing whether the party should stick to current coalition or seek alternative.  

While a section of Maoist leaders stresses that the party should stick to this coalition till elections, as it is in control of key ministries, including the home ministry. But some other leaders have stood against the coalition, saying that both parties share the same constituencies. “We were reduced to third position in the last election because the UML did well. The UML should be viewed as our main rival as we share the same vote bank. Not doing so could prove costly for the party,” said a Maoist leader. 

Published: 09-06-2016 08:03

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