UML-Maoist merger talks back from brink

  • Maoist leader Khanal says his party will join government even if unification process is delayed
  • Deals between Oli and Dahal said to be endorsed by Unification Committee, most probably today
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Dahal: Since both parties won elections with the help of each other, the popular mandate is for us to unite and support Oli as PM

Feb 19, 2018-After Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli agreed to put both the People’s Multi-party Democracy (PMPD) and Maoism up for discussion until the unity convention decides the new party’s political ideology, the roadblocks seen in the unification process are likely to be removed.

With the CPN (Maoist Centre) refusing to join government, PM Oli has been negotiating with its Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal a “package deal” on ideological and power-sharing matters.

PM Oli and Dahal held a lunch meeting that lasted more than four hours on Sunday to settle ideological issues as agreed to between the two leaders. The meeting was held at the Bhaktapur-based mansion of businessman Durga Prasai, who runs a medical college in Jhapa.

UML sources said that the agreements reached between the two leaders would be endorsed by the Party Unification Coordination Committee (PUCC), most probably on Monday.

“If everything goes as planned, the Maoist Centre is likely to join government on Tuesday,” said a UML leader. But Maoist leaders claimed that it could take a few more days to iron out their differences. Then only would other power-sharing and organisational issues be finalised.

The two leaders have agreed to adopt Marxism and Leninism as the directive principle of the new party and review both PMPD and Maoism until the next convention. There was a breakdown in talks earlier when PUCC members refused to endorse agreements forged by the two leaders, demanding clarity on their position in a new arrangement. Senior leaders Madhav Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal and General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel were particular about their roles in the unified party.

During the Parliamentary Party (PP) meeting held before his meeting with Oli, Chairman Dahal had briefed Maoist MPs that his party would make sincere efforts at unification with the UML.

“The UML had backtracked on its agreement to put ideological issues of both the parties up for discussion when the deal was presented at the PUCC meeting,” leader Rekha Sharma quoted Dahal telling the PP meeting on Sunday. “We’re working to finalise the issues within a day or two.”

Besides, Dahal also told the meeting that since both the parties won elections with the help of each other, the popular mandate was for the two parties to unify and support Oli as the prime minister.

Party Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal agreed that Sunday’s meeting of the two leaders was fruitful. PM Oli’s aide Chetan Adhikari said the meeting ended on a positive note. The two leaders could sit again before the PUCC meeting to narrow down the differences, he added.

Meanwhile, Maoist leader Chakrapani Khanal said his party would join the government even if the unification process was delayed. The two parties are also preparing to bring the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and the Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal on board, with an aim to make the government inclusive

Published: 19-02-2018 08:10

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