UML, Maoist Center Working To Conclude Merger Process

Leaders from the two sides said that over 75 percent of work pertaining to the organizations of the two parties has been sorted out, while work is in progress to develop appropriate strategies to merge the sister wings.

March 26, 2018, 8:42 a.m.

The CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), which have announced to become a unified party, have inched closer to developing a common modality to integrate the organizations of the two parties.

Leaders from the two sides said that over 75 percent of work pertaining to the organizations of the two parties has been sorted out, while work is in progress to develop appropriate strategies to merge the sister wings.

On February 19, leaders of the two parties had struck a seven-point framework agreement to form the Communist Party of Nepal. The party has already agreed to adopt joint leadership.

Excluding the office bearers, the standing committee and politburo, which will act as coordination bodies, the unified entity will have six layers of executive committees. It includes the Central Committee, provincial committees, district committees, rural/municipal committees, ward committees and election booth committees.

The Central Committee will act as the party's steering committee with two strong bodies-- the politburo and the standing committee -- under its purview.

According to My Republica, the Central Committee will not have more than 350 members, while the politburo and standing committees will comprise around 100 and 35 members, respectively. UML and Maoist Center are likely to have 60 and 40 percent stakes in the unified party, respectively.

The number could go slightly up or down but the central idea is to form a small, feasible body, according to Maoist Center Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal.

"The unification coordination committee will take the final call on all proposed drafts," said Bhusal.

The two parties have also readied a draft on the unified party's ideological and political lines. Maoist Spokesperson Bhusal, who is in the committee assigned to draft the political document, said that the committee would submit the report to the unification coordination committee within "two or three days".

The two parties have already decided to embrace socialism but it is still uncertain what will happen to UML's political line of People's Multiparty Democracy and Maoist Center's Maoism.

"The first general convention of the party will decide the fate of the People's Multiparty Democracy and Maoism. There is chance that the political line of both parties will get space in the new party," said Mani Thapa, Province 5 in-charge of the Maoist Party.

Despite progress on the issue of the unified party's central structure, the two parties are yet to develop a common framework on the integration of the sister wings including student wings, women's wings, party committees of professionals and employees.

Leaders said that plans are afoot to sort out the remaining issues within the next two weeks. After a brief halt, leaders from the two parties are meeting on Monday to take forward the remaining works of the planned merger.

Despite an initial plan to finalize the merger by the end of April, the two parties are planning to wrap up the process before Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's India visit which is expected to take place in the first week of April. Briefing the party leaders about the proposed visit on Saturday, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal hinted that the merger process would be completed before Oli's visit.

Leaders said that Oli looks keen to wrap up the merger before he embarks on his India visit to "give the message of a stable government in Kathmandu committed to work on the issues of bilateral interest for the next five years".

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