UML, Maoists seek middle path for unification

Published On: April 5, 2018 06:50 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 5: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that the planned unification between UML and CPN (Maoist Center) would be finalized soon after he returns from India visit. 

Briefing party leaders about progress in unification talks with Maoist Center, Oli said that the two parties have agreed upon most of the issues. He said that few other pending issues would be addressed on the basis of compromise and understanding. 

"Only some issues remain to be settled and they would be settled soon. The merger will be given final shape within the next few days," Oli briefed leaders during a meeting held at party headquarters in Kathmandu on Wednesday. Following the meeting, UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai said the remaining differences would be ironed out by Oli and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. 

Two cross-party taskforces formed to give shape to the merger on Tuesday submitted ideological and political documents resolving majority of the issues. A meeting of the party unification committee is expected to endorse the documents on Thursday. 
But the two sides are still at loggerheads over three key issues - division of power, election symbol and the Maoists' demand for a formal recognition of the People's War in party statute. 

The taskforces had failed to reach a consensus on power-sharing due to Maoists' demand for 50 percent stake in the new party. The former rebel party has demanded to include People's War in the party statute and pick the hammer and sickle inside a circle as the election symbol of the proposed party. UML has rejected all three demands. 

UML leaders briefed on discussion between Oli and Dahal said that there was a chance for consensus with 60/40 percent division of power. They claim that Dahal is positive on the 60/40 offer. 

"Dahal raised the 50/50 issue after Oli hinted at giving 30 percent stake to the Maoists in the new party.  There would be a compromise on 60/40 division of power," said a UML leader. 

Following a meeting with Oli on Tuesday, Dahal, who had earlier ruled out the possibility of merger in what he called unequal terms, has softened his stance. Dahal on Wednesday told media that the unification process would be completed by securing the interests of both the parties. 

UML leaders said that the two chairmen would find appropriate term to refer to the decade-long armed insurgency spearheaded by the Maoists. But they said that UML's election symbol, sun, would be the official symbol of the proposed party. 

UML's standing committee meeting has called party politburo meeting on April 19 and the central committee on April 20 to discuss on the proposed unification. The two parties have announced to formally become one party on April 22. 

Another meeting of UML's parliamentary party leaders held after the standing committee meeting appointed Subas Nembang as deputy leader of the Parliamentary Party. Similarly, Khagraj Adhikari and Shanta Chaudhary were appointed party chief whip and whip respectively.

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