KATHMANDU, Dec 19: In a major organizational restructuring, the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) has decided to expand the size of its Central Working Committee to 161, with a provision to elect directly all office bearers except the treasurer, through a general convention.
After days of intense negotiations between the establishment and rival factions within the party, the country’s grand old party has finally decided to expand the existing 85-member CWC to restructure its organization in line with the federal setup.
A draft of the party’s new statute that will be endorsed by the CWC on Wednesday and the Mahasamiti meeting on Thursday will have provisions for directly electing the president, two vice presidents, two general secretaries and two joint general secretaries. This significantly curbs the discretionary powers that the elected president enjoyed hitherto when forming the office bearers’ body.
Currently, this body comprises a president, a vice president, two general secretaries, a joint general secretary and a treasurer. While the president, one of the two general secretaries and a treasurer are directly elected through the general convention, the elected president nominates his vice president, a general secretary and a joint general secretary, allowing him/her to easily secure a majority in the party’s crucial body.
However, even after the new statute comes into effect, the elected president will still have the right to pick a treasure from among elected Central Working Committee members
The question of number of office bearers and the electoral modality for picking them had led the party leadership to present the draft statute to the ongoing Mahasamiti meeting, forcing Mahasamiti members to protest against the delay.
NC Joint General Secretary Prakash Sharan Mahat and NC Nuwakot District President Jagadish Narasing KC engaged in a scuffle as Mahat tried to snatch the microphone when KC was venting his ire against the party president.
NC Vice President Bimalendra Nidhi said they have finally arrived at a consensus on the draft statute. “We have been able to amicably settle the contentious issues of the new party statute. Now, all office bearers except treasurer will be elected directly through a general convention. There has also been an agreement to increase the size of the party’s CWC to 161 members, up from the existing 85,” he told Republica.
According to Nidhi, various new clusters have been added to elect CWC members from different groups of people and there is a provision to elect three members including one woman to the new Central Working Committee from each of the seven provinces. “A Central Working Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday will formally endorse the agreement reached today to give final shape to the draft statute,” Nidhi further said.
The delay in reaching a consensus on the number of office bearers and election modality has led to the extension of the ongoing Mahasamiti meeting by two days. The meeting that formally began on Saturday was supposed to conclude on Wednesday.
According to the party’s top leaders, the party has decided to hold the Mahasamiti meeting at party headquarters, Sanepa. The Mahasamiti meeting is currently being held at a party venue at Ramshahpath.
As draft copies of the new statute can be distributed to Mahasamiti members after printing only on Thursday, the top leaders expect to conclude the meeting by Friday.