Joint leadership mulled for UML-Maoist merger

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Dec 22, 2017-While the CPN (Maoist Centre) awaits the CPN-UML’s official decision on the modality of seat-sharing both in the party and the government, UML leaders say chairmen of the two parties--KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal--are likely to lead the unified party jointly until the general convention.

However, Maoist Centre leaders want the “gentlemen’s agreement” reached between the two parties while forging an electoral alliance honoured: if the UML leader becomes the prime minister, the Maoist Centre chairman should be appointed the party chief, and vice versa.

A senior Maoist leader said that one chairman would lead the government while the other heads the party, in the event of rotational leadership for a two-and-a-half-year term each.

Suspicious of the UML’s intentions, created by the statements of some senior leaders including General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel, a meeting of the Maoist Centre headquarters on Monday decided to start the government formation process only after laying down the modality for party unification. Following the Maoist decision, the UML has scheduled its Standing Committee meeting for Friday. The meet is expected to spell out the terms for party merger besides discussing the process to form a new government.

Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who is actively involved in the discussions, said the party unification coordination committee would meet on Saturday. UML leaders including General Secretary Pokhrel, Standing Committee member Shankar Pokhrel and Secretary Pradip Gyawali are working out the party merger procedure.

Since the Maoist Centre has demanded respectable shares in the government and the unified party, UML leader Shankar Pokhrel hinted at the joint leadership in the transitional period. The alliance has already formed a party unification coordination committee jointly led by Oli and Dahal. UML leaders said this modality could continue until the national convention.

Sources claimed that the two parties would dissolve their existing central bodies and form a unity national convention organising committee while forming a separate coordination committee of senior leaders from both the parties.

Published: 22-12-2017 08:02

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