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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Nepal: Oli-Prachanda meeting on power-sharing deal ends without progress

Prime Minister and party chairman Oli, executive chairman 'Prachanda' and former premier Madhav Kumar Nepal held an informal meeting at the PM's official residence at Baluwatar on Thursday, ahead of the meeting of the party's 45-member powerful Standing Committee.

By: PTI | Kathmandu | July 16, 2020 9:12:30 pm
Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, also known as KP Oli, shakes hand with Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda. (Photo: Reuters)

With embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli refusing to resign or give up his position as chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, talks aimed to strike a new power-sharing deal between him and former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ failed to make any headway on Thursday on the eve of a crucial meeting of the party.

Prime Minister and party chairman Oli, executive chairman ‘Prachanda’ and former premier Madhav Kumar Nepal held an informal meeting at the PM’s official residence at Baluwatar on Thursday, ahead of the meeting of the party’s 45-member powerful Standing Committee.

However, the three leaders failed to reach a deal after Oli and Prachanda, who is leading the dissident group, stuck to their demands, said Standing Committee member Ganesh Shah.

The trio tried to sort out differences between Oli and the dissident group. But, as the Prime Minister didn’t accept their condition of a one-man-one-post, the talks failed, he said.

Oli and Prachanda have failed to reach a power-sharing deal even after at least eight rounds of talks in recent weeks.

Thursday’s talks took place just ahead of the Standing Committee meeting on Friday which is expected to determine the political future of the 68-year-old prime minister who has previously alleged that his detractors were trying to remove him with India’s help.

Top party leaders, including ‘Prachanda’, have been demanding Prime Minister Oli’s resignation, saying his recent anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate.” They are also against Oli’s autocratic style of functioning.

There could be a middle point for compromise even if the Prime Minister agreed to quit either of the two key positions, which he did not accept, resulting in deadlock in the talk, Shah said.

Prime Minister’s press advisor Surya Thapa also said that the talks remained inconclusive though the leaders spent around two hours together.

The differences grew further after Oli said that some of the ruling party leaders are aligning with the southern neighbour to remove him from power after his government issued a new political map incorporating three Indian territories.

The Prachanda-Nepal faction rejected the allegations, saying it is them who have asked for resignation, not India. They asked Oli to show evidence to support his allegation.

Prachanda has said that he will not allow the party to split and any attempt from anywhere to weaken its unity would hurt the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.

Last Friday, the meeting of the NCP’s Standing Committee to decide Oli’s future was postponed for a fourth time at the last moment, citing floods and landslides in the country.

Under mounting pressure to resign, Prime Minister Oli has downplayed the intra-party rift and said such disputes are “regular phenomena” that can be resolved through dialogue.

The differences between the two factions of the NCP, one led by Oli and the other led by Prachanda on the issue of power-sharing, intensified after the prime minister unilaterally decided to prorogue the budget session of Parliament.

China’s ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqui has met senior leaders and former prime ministers Madhav Nepal and Khanal in an effort to save Oli’s chair.

Now all are waiting to see if the Standing Committee meeting will take place as scheduled earlier or it would be postponed for the 5th time. According to Nepalese media, the Prachanda faction enjoys the support of over 30 members of the 45-member Standing Committee of the NCP.

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