KATHMANDU, Jan 3: A secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which was supposed to finalize the party’s candidates for the National Assembly and for the new speaker of the lower house, ended without making any decision as the top leaders were divided over the choice of candidates.
Party leaders are sharply divided over who should be the candidate from the party for the post of speaker. They are still at odds over whether to field two-time former speaker Subas Nembang or Agni Sapkota.
A fresh row has now emerged over the fielding of candidates for the upper house.
A secretariat member said the meeting ended inconclusively after the leaders found themselves divided into two camps—former Maoists and former UML— and each wanted to field a speaker candidate from its own camp. A bid to finalize candidates for the upper house also failed after Prime Minister KP Oli tabled the names of candidates without prior discussions in the party.
A section of NCP leaders led by Madhav Kumar Nepal opposed the names, saying the list was tabled without proper consultations within the party.
“We discussed various issues but couldn’t reach any conclusion,” said party General Secretary Bishnu Paudel.
The party leaders are expected to hold another meeting to decide on the upper house candidates, at 8 am Friday.
The Election Commission has set January 23 as polling day for the upper house members. Of the total 59 NA members, the terms of 19 are expiring on March 3.
Of these 19 outgoing members, nine are from the Nepal Communist Party, seven from Nepali Congress, two from Rastriya Janata Party and one from Samajbadi Party.
Provincial assembly members and chiefs and deputy chiefs of local units vote for the new NA members. One member will be picked by the president.
NCP and RJP have entered a poll alliance whereas the opposition parties Nepali Congress and Samajbadi are discussing a counter alliance.