Mistrust grows between Maoist Center and UML as date of presidential election nears

Published On: February 19, 2023 08:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 19: The mistrust between the two ruling parties-- CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN-UML-- has deepened lately as the date for the presidential election nears. 

The mistrust between the two parties grew after the Maoist Center Chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal proposed to seek national consensus on the candidate of new president--something UML has maintained is against the agreement reached between the two parties on December 25. 

Leaders close to UML Chairman K P Oli and Dahal say although the two leaders have been holding meetings regularly their talks have not been fruitful as expected. As the talks between the two leaders held at the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar on Thursday could not end on a positive note, Prime Minister  Dahal had reached UML Chairman Oli's residence in Balkot. 

Prime Minister Dahal insisted forging national consensus on a new presidential candidate, but UML Chairman Oli had reminded him of their agreement on December 25, 2022. In the agreement reached a day before Dahal was appointed as the new prime minister, the Maoist Center had agreed to back UML for presidential candidate in return for its support to the prime ministerial post. 

During his meeting with Oli on Friday, Dahal had repeated his proposal to take NC in confidence for the presidential election. The talks between the two leaders could not be fruitful as both the leaders stood adamant in their respective stances. 

A senior leader of the Maoist Center said they are not in a position to blindly support the candidate proposed by the UML. "We have had bitter experiences with the president in the recent past. We are not in position to blindly support the candidate proposed by the UML," said the leader, asking not to be named. 

Although Dahal told media persons after his meeting with Oli that they would be able to reach agreement on a new presidential candidate within the next few days, both UML and Maoist Center leaders are not convinced that they would be able to reach any consensus. UML leaders fear that the current alliance may even break if Dahal does not stop insisting for a 'consensus' president.

The election to the new president is scheduled for March 9. Political parties need to file nominations of presidential candidates on February 25. The mistrust between the UML and Maoist Center has grown further as senior Nepali Congress(NC) leaders have been holding a series of meetings with Prime Minister Dahal in recent days. 

NC leaders have been publicly claiming that the current alliance between the Maoist Center and the UML will break after the presidential election on March 9. As per the understanding reached between the two parties, UML and Maoist Center will share the post of prime minister for two and half years each. 

UML leaders suspect that NC is trying to bring Dahal in its fold by offering its support to Dahal as prime minister for the whole five years. They said they are waiting to see if the Maoist Center maintains political honesty in the upcoming election.

However, Maoist Center leaders maintain that there is a possibility to find a consensus candidate who is equally acceptable to all parties including UML. "All parties should agree on the candidate who helps safeguard the constitution and is committed to democracy," said a Maoist Center leader. 






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