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UML-Maoist unification still uncertain

By Our Reporter  
Even seven months after the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre announced to unify their parties, unification of the two parties still look uncertain. Conflicting views expressed by the leaders of both the parties and Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s Sunday’s surprise Sukute journey cancelling his meeting with Prime Minister and UML chair K. P. Oli made the unification more uncertain.
The two parties had earlier decided to unify UML and Maoist Center on April 22, on the occasion of the establishment of the Communist Party of Nepal. But the developments a week before the deadline set for the unification show not well with the unification process.
Although Oli and Dahal held a meeting on Monday morning, no new headway was made. However, the two leaders agreed to call the meeting of the Party Unification Coordination Committee to settle the contentious issues of unification for Tuesday.
The committee that has almost agreed in major issues had been unable to solve the issues about confirming the election symbol, mentioning the word ‘people’s war,’ in the party statute and exact number of the members from the CPN-Maoist Centre in the Central Committee of the new party.
These three unsettled issues had even been discussed in the meeting of the taskforces formed by the two parties. But when the issues remained unsettled, the taskforce members had also decided to take the issues to the committee.
The UML has been exerting pressure to keep the ‘sun’ as new party’s election symbol, but the Maoist Centre wants to insert hammer and sickle inside the sun. The Maoist Centre has been demanding to mention ‘People’s War’ in the new party’s statute and political draft.
The Maoist Centre has been seeking equal sharing in the proposed 299-member new central working committee. The taskforce has been unable to confirm the exact number of members to represent the two parties.
The Maoist Centre has currently 3,999 central members, 399 politburo members and 34 standing committee members.
Similarly, the CPN-UML has currently 198 central members, 59 politburo members and 26 standing committee members.
Earlier, the two parties contested the federal and provincial elections with the UML sharing 60 per cent of the total seats and Maoist Centre 40 per cent.
But when preparations for unification reached the final stage the Maoist Centre had been demanding 50 per cent share in the new party, and this has delayed the unification of the two parties.
However, the crux of the problem was in ensuring a safe space for Dahal after the party’s unification. He fears whether Oli would continue in the office for five years without letting him become PM. Sources said that Dahal sought written commitment from Oli leaving the PM’s post for Dahal, which UML outright rejected.  The sister organisations of the Maoist-Centre have told the leadership to go unification only if the party is given 50 per cent share in all party committees.  Again, the Maoist that is smaller than half of UML in federal and provincial parliaments does not deserve 50 per cent shares in party committees.
Likewise, internal and external forces are also been active to prevent the unification. Unless Oli and  Dahal agree to make sacrifice, the unification of the two communist parties looks a difficult venture at the moment.

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