KATHMANDU, Dec 24: With just two days left to stake claim for the leadership of the new government, two ruling parties-- Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center) have expedited an intense negotiation to finalize the power sharing deal.
A meeting held between NC President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at Prime Minister Deuba's official residence in Baluwatar on Friday evening ended inconclusively although Deuba floated two different proposals to the Maoist Center to finalize the power-sharing deal.
According to NC leaders close to him, President Deuba has proposed Maoist Center to take the post of prime minister while giving NC the posts of president and speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR). In this case, NC will take key ministerial portfolios in the government in its capacity as the largest political party, whose strength in parliament is almost three times more than the Maoist Center.
Similarly, Deuba has floated another proposal to the Maoist Center in which NC will take the posts of president and prime minister and give the Maoist Center the post of speaker of the HoR. In this case, Maoist Center will get to lead key ministerial portfolios such as the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Home.
Deuba has proposed the names of NC senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel as president and Purna Bahadur Khadka as speaker of the HoR for discussions. "The two leaders have agreed to sit again tomorrow [Saturday] morning to discuss further on the proposals. However, there has not been any agreement so far on these proposals," said a leader close to Prime Minister and NC President Deuba.
Amid concerns that the Maoist Center may even choose to break the alliance to form a new government with the support of CPN-UML, NC has simultaneously continued a quiet negotiation with the UML Chairman K P Oli. This comes amid reports that Oli is trying to appease Dahal to break the current ruling alliance by offering Dahal the post of new prime minister.
Sources claimed UML Chairman Oli has offered to form a new government without including Maoist Center and Madhav Kumar Nepal-led CPN (Unified Socialist). "Oli has even assured to extend support from outside to the NC to form a new government," claimed the NC leader, who asked not to be named.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari has invited parties to stake claim for the new government leadership by 5pm on Sunday. The negotiation among the major political parties on the next two days is likely to be crucial as parties are under pressure to finalize power-sharing deals on all major state positions such as president, vice president, prime minister and speaker of the HoR by Sunday.