Left alliance, SSF-N eye package deal

  • UML ‘ready in principle’ to amend statute
  • SSF-N ‘wants 3 ministries’
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Mar 2, 2018-

Leaders of the ruling left alliance and the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal are preparing to strike a package deal, with the CPN-UML agreeing in principle to amend the constitution.

Governing parties UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) had prepared to ink an accord with the SSF-N on Thursday but there was no agreement on power-sharing. Leaders from both sides had left the meeting with an understanding to finalise the issues as a package after holding internal meetings.

“The left alliance and the SSF-N are for finalising the issues in a package. There are some issues to be settled between individual parties,” said Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s party UML, which maintained a tough stance against further amendment to the constitution adopted in 2015 and amended shortly afterwards, is said to have agreed to it in principle. The SSF-N, one of the parties that have campaigned for charter revision, became ready to join the government after signing a written commitment to amending the statute in a mutually agreed process.

The UML and the SSF-N have yet to divide ministerial portfolios but the leaders have refused to divulge details on ways to address the demands of the Madhes-based party.

Sources claimed that the SSF-N has demanded three ministries besides deputy speaker in the House of Representatives but the alliance says it can spare only two ministries for the newcomer since the UML and the Maoists have divided the ministries 11 and 7 in the 18-ministry government including the PM’s Office.

SSF-N co-chair Rajendra Shrestha said the ongoing meetings of the left alliance and the SSF-N have finalised all the issues but internal matters have not been settled.

Since the UML and the SSF-N, having opposite positions on the agenda of identity, have come closer, the process would obviously take some time, said Shrestha. Rather than a specific point-wise deal, the agreement would be a general statement, he added.

“Since our [SSF-N] Chairman Upendra Yadav had to rush to Saptari, things were not finalised today,” Shrestha said, adding that negotiations would resume on Saturday after he returns.

From the UML, Prime Minister Oli, Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel, party Secretaries Bishnu Poudel and Pradeep Gyawali and leader Subas Nembang attended the meeting while Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and leader Shrestha represented the Maoist Centre in the discussion.

Yadav and Shrestha of the SSF-N attended the meeting held at the PM’s official residence in Baluwatar.

Published: 02-03-2018 07:51

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