KATHMANDU, March 29: A task force formed to determine ideological and organizational modality to merge the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center) has proposed scrapping a provision which prohibits party members over the age of seventy from taking on leadership position.
The existing statute of the ruling CPN-UML bars leaders over seventy years old from holding leadership position. The CPN (Maoist Center), however, has no such provision in its statute.
The provision, which needs to be approved through the unified party's first general convention, comes as a relief to many party seniors whose future was looking increasingly uncertain in the to-be-unified party due to age limit. It has been understood that senior leaders from both parties including Bamdev Gautam, Jhalanath Khanal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who are in their sixties, had exerted pressure to remove age bar and term limit.
The taskforce, which plans to submit the draft proposal to party leadership later this week, has also proposed removing a provision that bars office bearers from staying in the same portfolio for more than two terms, according to a leader who is in the task force.
On February 19, leaders of the two parties had struck a seven-point framework agreement to form the Communist Party of Nepal. Leaders of two parties have been working under various committees to draft the statute and develop appropriate strategy for integration of the organizations.
The taskforce has completed over 70 percent of the work pertaining to ideology and organization of the new party, while some key issues including division of power and remains to be settled.
The party will have eight executive committees consisting of the convention committee, national council, central committee, provincial committee, district committee, election areas committee, local level committee, ward committee, and poll booth committee.
The Central Committee will act as the party's steering committee with two strong bodies-- the politburo and the standing committee -- under its purview.
The Central Committee will not have more than 299 members, while the politburo and standing committees will comprise around 99 and 33 members, respectively. The number could go up or down depending on the need.
The taskforce has proposed setting up 150-member provincial committee and 75 to 125-member district committee, while election area and local level/municipal committees would each comprise 75 members, informed leaders involved in drafting party documents.
"These are just proposals. Leadership of the two parties will jointly take final call before approving the documents. Similarly, they would also resolve the disputed issues," said Pampha Bhusal.
Despite progress on the issue of the unified party's central structure, the two sides are still poles apart on the issue pertaining to sharing of power. While the UML has offered 30 percent stake to the Maoist Center in the unified party, the latter has demanded equal stake.
Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday warned that there won't be unification without equal division of power at all levels.
Maoist leader Mani Thapa said that there should be equal status and leadership opportunities at all executive committees and organizational level such as sister wings including women's wings and party committees of professionals and employees.
Leaders from both sides have expressed confidence of breakthrough on power equation but said that the fresh disputes have ended possibility of merger within self-imposed deadline of April-end.