POLITICS Stalled Again?

Despite commanding two thirds of majority, the ruling communist allies are facing uncertainties about how to bridge their political differences and go ahead with their announced merger

May 4, 2018, 8:03 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL.11, No.20, May 04, 2018 (Baishakh 21, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

At a time when there is a growing dispute involving CPN-UML and Maoist Center over the unification of the two communist parties, the government has recommended to the president to summon the budget session of the federal parliament on May 6.

Although CPN-UML and Maoist Center leaders are bargaining on the terms and conditions of power sharing following the unification, the government does not have to worry about its stability.

Given Nepal’s own political courses, that have seen the cracking of a majority government of single party, nothing can be ruled out. This is highly important session as it will discuss and endorse policy and programs of the government and announce the budget for the next fiscal year including the budget distribution to the state and local levels.

The government should present the budget for the next fiscal year in parliament on May 29, which is the deadline specified in the constitution.

As the government is preparing the budget, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has asked UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli to choose between premiership and party leadership.

During a meeting held with PM Oli at his residence in Baluwatar, Dahal told Oli that the latter should be ready to hand over party leadership to him if he intends to remain at the helm of the government. 

According to leaders briefed on the discussion, Dahal said that the unification was possible only if UML agrees, in writing, to hand over one of the two posts to his party.

They said that Dahal is ready to show flexibility on modality as long as the power sharing is equal and dignified. One such modality, Maoist leaders said, can be allocating two posts between two leaders for 2.5 years each.

Dahal's demand marks a major shift in stance of the party, which had agreed to follow a joint leadership. On February 19, Oli and Dahal had struck a seven-point framework agreement to follow a shared leadership. The deal was silent on premiership even as some Maoist leaders claim that Oli and Dahal had reached an understanding to rotate the government leadership between them.

Leaders said that other disputed issues were also discussed during the meeting. They said that other issues would be resolved once a deal is negotiated on power sharing between the two leaders.

As the government is preparing the new budget with ambitious slogans, there arise many contradictions of stand. This is creating more confusion over whether this coalition will continue.

Although Nepali Congress leaders are divided over their internal matters, there is a unanimous voice to dislodge this government. According to sources close to Nepali Congress, their party is ready to support Maoist Chair Prachanda as prime minister in case the differences widen.

Given the present parliamentary strength, no party has a majority and backing of NC and Madheshi will provide enough strength to Prachanda to claim the new government.

CPN-UML and Maoist Center continue to use their bargaining tool for some time to come. If they fail to unify, which is unlikely any time soon, one cannot rule out the possibility of collapse of the government due to their contradiction. 

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