‘Party merger before new govt’

  • maoist centre headquarters meeting
  • Party for resolving National Assembly election row in consensus
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Dec 19, 2017-As the CPN-UML has locked its horns with the Nepali Congress on the ordinance for National Assembly election, the CPN (Maoist Centre) has decided to chart out the party unification process with the UML before the process for new government formation begins.

In the wake of the UML-Maoist alliance registering an impressive victory in the federal parliamentary and provincial assembly elections, the Maoist Centre wants a clear picture on party unification first.

A meeting of the Maoist headquarters on Monday claimed “respectable” shares in both the unified party and the new Cabinet, stressing a clear roadmap before government formation starts.

The Maoist Centre’s decision comes at a time when UML leaders including General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel have said their Chairman KP Sharma Oli should lead both the new party and the government. The Maoist meeting stressed that all the three crucial posts—prime minister, party chair and Parliamentary Party leader—should not go to the UML.

“We have decided to embark on government formation only after working out a modality for party unification,” said senior Maoist Centre leader Barshaman Pun, arguing that the government formation process would be delayed due to a conflict over election to the National Assembly.

With 53 seats in the 275-strong House of Representatives (including proportional representation seats), suspicions are rife whether the party would actually unite with the UML as agreed before the polls.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is learnt to have said that the government formation process would begin only after modalities for party unification are laid out.

“The poll results also show that the people want unification of the two parties,” a leader quoted Dahal as saying. “Had we formed just a poll alliance, the outcome would not have been like this.”

According to Dahal, the two parties are close to an understanding on sharing the major posts. This means if a leader from the UML becomes the prime minister, then one from the Maoist Centre will be appointed the party chief, and vice versa.

Some Maoist leaders also proposed holding an “interim unity convention” at the earliest to declare party unification. Expressing concern over the stalemate in election to the National Assembly, the meeting decided to find political consensus on the issue. With the UML opposing the single transferable voting (STV) system proposed in the ordinance, while urging the President not to authenticate the ordinance presented by the government, the Maoist Centre has sought a middle path to resolving the dispute.

The first headquarters meeting of the party after the elections assessed the Maoists’ performance in the two tiers of elections as “satisfactory”, crediting the alliance for the success. On the defeat of Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha and UML leader Bamdev Gautam in the federal parliamentary polls, Maoist leaders said it was due to “betrayal within the alliance”.

Maoist leaders from the Tarai, Matrika Yadav, Girirajmani Pokhrel and Prabhu Sah in particular, discussed divisions within the alliance and the failure to amend the constitution to address the Madhesis’ concerns for the bloc’s below par performance in Province 2.

A relatively poor show of the Maoist party in proportional representation (PR) election also figured in the meeting. Maoist leaders were of the view that with no candidates in 62 percent of the constituencies, publicity campaigns were hampered. Besides, leaders claimed, most of the invalid votes were of the left alliance.

Published: 19-12-2017 07:47

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