KATHMANDU, Feb 2: The proposed unification between the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), Nepal's two major parties, would take place in the next few days, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said, hinting at a possibility of a tentative deal on l the ft merger before the formation of the new government.
Addressing a function organized by the party at Mahabharat Rural Municipality of Kavrepalanchowk district on Thursday, Dahal said that the two parties were inching closer to a deal despite conspiracies from some quarters to foil the merger process. Dahal said that some reactionary elements were hell-bent on stopping the merger without clarifying further about those elements.
Dahal's remarks come at a time when talks between the UML and the Maoist Center have failed to move forward due to differences over contentious issues including leadership of the new party.
Negotiators from the two parties tried to iron out differences for around an hour on Thursday with little success. Thursday's talks, the latest in a series of the discussion held by interlocutors from the two parties, approved a power-sharing deal finalized by second-rung leaders at the provincial level but ended without entering into the contentious issues citing lack of preparations.
UML leaders have pitched an alternative proposal to create a special portfolio for Dahal which would be the second highest position in the party structure but Dahal has reportedly rejected it.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, UML Vice Chairman Bamdev Gautam said that the meeting had approved a power-sharing deal reached by negotiators of the two parties for six provinces where the left is expected to form governments.
On Sunday, UML and Maoist Center had reached an agreement to form government respectively in four and six provinces, while dividing key portfolios including speakers and deputy speakers for provincial assemblies.
During Thursday's meeting, UML Chair KP Sharma Oli and Maoist Chair Dahal had cited the need for further understanding on disputed issues including premiership and leadership of the new party.
Notwithstanding a series of formal and informal negotiation at various levels, the two parties still appear poles apart on leadership, organization and ideology of the merged entity. The biggest dispute is over the leadership.
According to cross party leaders, Maoist chair Dahal's claim over both premiership and party leadership have emerged as the biggest hurdle in the planned unification.
UML leadership, though positive about rotating the government leadership, has put forth party chairmanship as a non-negotiable issue.
UML leaders have pitched an alternative proposal to create a special portfolio for Dahal which would be the second highest position in the party structure.
Dahal has rejected the idea, according to three leaders of his party. Maoist Center spokesperson Pampha Bhusal they are looking for a deal on overall aspects of the merger rather than one particular post.
"The party leadership is just one small element in merger. Our focus is to forge a border deal involving every element of unification," Bhusal told Republica earlier this week.