Breakthrough in UML-Maoist Centre merger as Oli agrees to share premiership with Dahal

Chairmen of CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre, KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal respectively, sign an agreement to unify their parties, in Kathmandu, on Monday, February 19, 2018.

Kathmandu, May 7

Efforts for the unification between CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre that began around seven months ago are likely to conclude fruitfully within next two weeks as UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, also the incumbent prime minister, has agreed to handover the government leadership to Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal for last two years of his five-year term in the government.

According to negotiators, Oli and Dahal have already made agreements about roadblocks of unification last week though a written agreement is yet to be signed. A UML leader says the party’s senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal have consented Oli to make these agreements.

Earlier, Dahal had demanded that the premiership be shared equally whereas he be given the right to lead the party as executive chief till the end of Oli’s premiership.

On the demand of executive leadership, Oli is positive that the issue can be settled in mutual consent when the need be.

Negotiators say the Maoist leader had also sought an endorsement of UML leaders for his desire to take over the party leadership from the next general convention after around five years. The UML leaders including Oli, however, did not agree on it, forcing Dahal to drop the demand.

Another bone of contention between the parties was ratio of two parties in the unified party’s organisational structures. Whereas the Maoist Centre had demanded that it be 50:50, the UML was reluctant to buy the idea.

Now, with the fresh agreement, the Maoist Centre will get 38 to 42 per cent in the party structures. The size of central committee will be made quite bigger to adjust more Maoist leaders.

The two parties are already ready to sign the agreement. However, the leaders will be busy during the Nepal visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled for next week, therefore the announcement of unification will be made only after he will return to India, according to Maoist Centre spokesperson Pampha Bhusal.

The new party will get registered with the Election Commission immediately, says UML Deputy General Secretary Bishnu Paudel.

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