KATHMANDU, Jan 26: Negotiators from UML and CPN (Maoist Center) have decided to finalize the division of power at provincial level through a high-level meeting after a taskforce comprising the second-rung leaders failed to reach to a consensus despite several rounds of talks.
After rounds of unsuccessful efforts to broker a deal, a meeting of the joint taskforce on Thursday agreed to refer unresolved differences over key portfolios including chief ministers and speakers to top leaders.
The left alliance comprising the UML and the Maoist Center are expected to form government in six of the seven provinces where it registered a landslide victory in the recently held provincial polls.
Thursday's meeting ended inconclusively after the Maoist Center claimed proportionate distribution of key portfolios including chief ministers, speakers and deputy speakers of provincial assemblies. The two sides, however, have reached an agreement to form a small cabinet in each province.
After the meeting, UML leader Subas Nembang told reporters that the unresolved issues pertaining to provincial government would be addressed at a higher level. He said that a deal on provincial assembly would be sealed by next week.
"The existing differences would be referred to a joint meeting chaired by chairmen of the two parties on Friday," said Nembang.
Both parties have been driving a hard bargain to seal a favorable deal. During the backdoor negotiations, Maoist Center has insisted that the party should get the post of speaker in provinces where UML gets chief minister and vice versa.
"Maoist Center will stake claim to either chief minister or speaker in each province. UML should be ready to share one of the two key portfolios," Maoist leader Barshaman Pun told Republica earlier this week.
But UML leaders have declined the proposal. Citing its strength at the provincial assembly, the party has staked claim to chief minister in five provinces. UML is in position to independently form government in three provinces, while the party appears short of a few seats in three other provinces.
But Maoist leaders have said that power sharing should be based on previously agreed model of 60:40 split in power, not the strength of the two parties in the provincial assemblies.
Besides the provincial level, UML and Maoist Center which plan to seal a deal on unification before the formation of new government are also seeing similar disputes over leadership, organization and ideology of the merged entity.