October 25, 2018 08:15 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Oct 25: Six months after the unification of the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) to form the new Nepal Communist Party (NCP), the Election Commission has yet to formally register the party. The election body is unable to endorse the name of the ruling party as another communist leader, Rishi Kattel, says it is a name that has already been allocated to his party.
The EC brought the two sides together at its headquarters on Wednesday but its efforts to settle the name row proved futile. “We heard arguments from both sides but could not reach a conclusion. We have asked them to work out a consensus at the earliest,” said Election Commissioner Ishwari Paudyal, adding, “Otherwise, we will decide the name ourselves within a couple of days.”
At Wednesday's meeting, Kattel, who had already registered his party with the EC as Nepal Communist Party before the merger of the other two communist parties, has threatened to go to court if the name is now transferred to the merged party. Kattel suggested that the election body simply scrap the application for name registration filed by the ruling party leaders. Ruling party leaders, however, argue that parliament does not recognize Kattel's party and that their own party should therefore be registered as proposed in its application.
With the two sides claiming the same name, the EC finds itself in a fix. Shortly after the unification of the two communist parties was announced, the EC had hinted at rejecting the new party's registration. It cited low representation for women and the name overlap with Kattel's party.
Sources close to the election body said the ruling party leaders have been advised to either win Kattel's acquiescence or come up with a different name.