KATHMANDU, Dec 15: The CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), that forged an electoral alliance with further plans to unify the two leftist parties, have started formal negotiations for simultaneously expediting party unification and government formation following their resounding victory in the recent parliamentary and provincial assembly polls.
Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who arrived in Kathmandu Thursday after his election from Chitwan, held a one-on-one meeting with UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli Friday afternoon. The meeting that lasted about one and half hours dwelled on how to expedite the party unification process and the formation of the new government.
According to senior Maoist Center leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the two leaders agreed to expedite negotiations for party unification and government formation simultaneously. “We have a constitutional responsibility to form a new government after our victory in the elections. As we have already reached an understanding to unite the two parties, the two leaders have agreed to simultaneously expedite party unification and government formation,” Shrestha said.
Of the total 165 seats under the first-past-the-post electoral system in parliament, the UML has bagged 80 seats and the Maoist Center 36 seats. Counting of votes for the 110 seats under the proportional representation system is nearing completion.
Maoist Chairman Dahal met Oli after holding discussions among his own party's senior leaders including Shrestha. Dahal had held a meeting within his party after the negotiations with Oli in the afternoon. Later in the evening, Shrestha reached Oli's residence at Balkot for further negotiations as Dahal's emissary.
Besides party unification and formation of the new government, the meeting also held discussions on various political appointments being made by the outgoing Deuba government and the disputes surrounding the formation of the national assembly, according Oli's press coordinator, Chetan Adhikari.
Adhikari said the two parties decided to firmly oppose the appointments made by the Deuba government in recent days, and to revoke them later if the government keeps making appointments. On issues related to the formation of the national assembly, the two parties decided to hold negotiations with other parties and consult constitutional experts.
As the dispute over constitutional provisions regarding formation of the national assembly continues, the two leaders held consultations separately with lawyers close to their respective parties, Friday. They concluded that the NC is trying to prolong its stay in government by creating legal hurdles.
Separately, Chairman Oli paid a courtesy call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Friday. Sources said Oli discussed the current political situation, and mainly the NC-led government's moves obstructing government formation, citing the need to constitute the national assembly first.