UML, Maoists step up talks on upper house poll, new govt

Published On: January 20, 2018 07:58 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 20: Top leaders of the CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) have expedited negotiations on power-sharing in the new government and party unification, following UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli's return on Thursday from follow-up treatment in Thailand. 

UML Chairman Oli and Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal met one-on-one for over three hours  Friday to finalize the report submitted by a joint task force of the two parties on the National Assembly election, government formation and party unification. Chairman Dahal had reached  Oli's residence at Balkot at 1 pm to hold detailed discussions on the issues. 

According to a press statement issued by Oli's personal secretariat, the two leaders have decided to hold further discussions on Saturday. The agreement reached at the level of the two top leaders will be finalized through a party unification meeting called for Sunday. 
According to Oli's press coordinator Chetan Adhikari, the two leaders had held detailed discussions on the report on the National Assembly election submitted by the task force. "The two leaders have decided to finalize it after making minor amendments if needed,” he said. 

As per a deal reached between the two parties at the  task force level on Wednesday, UML and Maoist Center would get 29  and 14 seats respectively. They divided up the seats on the basis of the strength of the two parties at the local units and the provincial assemblies. 

The 59-member National Assembly will comprise 56 directly-elected representatives and three members nominated by the president on the recommendation of the cabinet. The two parties have also agreed to initiate talks with smaller parties regarding the remaining seats.  

Members of the National Assembly will be elected through a direct vote by a 2,056-member electoral college consisting of the newly-elected members of provincial assemblies and chiefs and deputy chiefs of the 753 local units.

Sources said the two parties are currently negotiating at the task force level over important portfolios within the 65:35 power-sharing ratio between UML and  Maoist Center. The two parties will share out between them the posts of president, vice president, prime minister, speaker, deputy speaker, chairman and deputy chairman of the National Assembly, the ministerial portfolios, the parliamentary committees and the National Assembly committees at the center.

Likewise, at the provincial level, the two parties will share the chief ministers, ministers, speakers and deputy speakers. The leftist alliance has decided to place these positions in two different clusters to initiate the power-sharing deal. 

Party leaders said they are also close to finalizing the party unification process. They maintain that they are already close to an agreement except over the post of party president. 

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