February 21, 2018 7:25:07 am
Nepal’s two main Communist parties, the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre, struck a historic merger midnight deal Sunday and formed a single unified party after their sweeping win in the federal and provincial polls. Under the new agreement, the unified party will be called Communist Party of Nepal and Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli will serve in that position for three years of the current government’s term, followed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda for the remaining two.
The Left Alliance of the CPN-UML, led by Prime Minister Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre, led by former prime minister Prachanda, had in December secured 174 seats in the 275-member Parliament in the provincial and parliamentary polls. A deal signed by eight top leaders from the two parties — five from the UML and three from the Maoists — including Oli and Dahal, chose not to clarify who would lead the unified party, but sources said both would hold the position of ‘Chairman’, and will be chairing meetings by rotation.
Pending formalisation, the guiding principles of the new unified party would be Marxism-Leninism ideology. This will be a departure from the ‘Maoism and the People’s Democracy for 21st century’, which the two parties had been calling their ‘guiding principle’ thus far. An interim political report and a Constitution will be prepared to conduct the affairs of the unified party, and sources said it would strive for “nationalism, democracy and social justice in order to create the basis of socialism”.
Along with the agreement, the two parties have also come to an understanding that the posts of the President of Nepal and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives will go to the UML, while that of the Vice President and that of the House Speaker will go to the Maoists. The UML has won 121 seats while the Maoist-Centre secured 53 seats in Parliament. The unified party will have 174 seats, 10 short of two-thirds majority.
The merger, given the size of the two parties, is the biggest political experiment of its kind in Nepal’s history, which will have a long-term impact on Nepal’s political, economic and social spheres. The pact would ensure a leftist government at the Centre and in six provinces for a full five-year term. The Maoist party will join the UML-led government within a couple of days, said Sunil Manandhar, central secretariat member of the Maoist Centre.
The two parties’ unification will be officially announced by mid-March, he added. In October last year, the two parties, in a surprise move, had announced a pre-poll alliance and said that they would be merged following the federal and provincial polls.
With PTI Inputs
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