Difficulties To Materialise Left Unification

Uttam Maharjan

On the plank of stable government and economic prosperity through unification of all the left parties, the Left Alliance consisting mainly of the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre, managed to sweep the just concluded provincial and federal elections, putting aside the Nepali Congress. On the basis of the results of the first-past-the-post elections, the UML became the largest party followed by the Maoist Centre in the second place, with the Nepali Congress pushed to a distant third. However, the proportional representation elections made the Nepali Congress the second largest party.

Electoral college
The Election Commission has, however, not declared the results of the proportional representation elections, citing that as per the constitution the results can be declared only after the elections to the National Assembly. For the elections to the National Assembly to take place, it is necessary to form an electoral college consisting of members of provincial assemblies. The members will be eligible only when they are sworn in as such. As per the constitutional provision, provincial governors would administer the oath of office and secrecy to senior-most members of the provincial assemblies, who would, in turn, administer of the oath to other members. But such governors are yet to be appointed. There is also a debate about whether the provincial governors should be appointed by the incumbent caretaker government or the new government.
Until recently, there were controversies surrounding the ordinance on the elections to the National Assembly due mainly to the intransigent stances taken by the Nepali Congress and the UML. However, the latter withdrew from its stand at last, thus paving the way for the ordinance to be endorsed by the President. With this, the decks have been cleared for the elections to the National Assembly. The Election Commission has said that it is preparing for the elections but the government is yet to declare the election date.
The Left Alliance is now bracing for the unification process. It is the bounden duty of the alliance to respect the overwhelming mandate given to it by the people during the elections. So, it cannot escape unifying its main constituents- the UML and the Maoist Centre. The election results show that the Left Alliance will undoubtedly form the government unless circumstances turn adverse. The prominent leaders of the alliance are saying that the parties can be merged before the formation of the government. The sooner the parties are merged, the better.
There was some doubt some time ago that the UML and the Maoist Centre might not merge. The Nepali Congress once offered the premiership for five years to Maoist strongman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda in a bid to foil the proposed unification of the UML and Maoist Centre. Similarly, the UML tried to take on board the Federal Socialist Forum to form the government. Maoist Centre chairman Dahal stayed in his home constituency for a long time after the elections instead of coming back to Kathmandu to hold discussions with UML chairman KP Sharma Oli on the unification of their parties. However, Dahal and Oli shooed away all misgivings about the possibility of the unification fading away by holding a tete-a-tete with each other.
Now, talks on the party unification are going on briskly. But there are many factors that need to be taken into account. The most important thing seems to be ideologies. The UML and the Maoist Centre have different ideologies. Such ideologies need to be reconciled by abiding by the spirit of the constitution. If they go about unifying their parties, there may emerge ideological differences in the future, which may cast a pall of ideological conflict on them, thus taking them asunder. Further, proper adjustment of cadres and determination of the pattern of leadership should also be taken into consideration before the unification process kicks off.
The UML and the Maoist Centre also need to sort out the issue of the distribution of important posts such as party chairman, President, Prime Minister and Speaker. As both the heads of the UML and Maoist Centre are influential personalities, negating one by the other may jeopardize the party unification process. Therefore, the distribution of such important posts should be carried out in such a way as to give either party no grounds on which to foil about the unification process.
The people have given a clear majority to the left alliance to rule the country for five years. What the people want is a stable government and political stability. They are sick and tired of the political leaders running the government by turns. There is also talk doing the rounds that Oli and Dahal will run the government by turns. If this really happens, it will be a misfortune for the country.
The main motive of the proposed left unification should be a stable government and political stability. If political instability persists due to rotational governments, there will be no difference between the present situation and the transition period. The transition period has been haunting the country for over a decade ad nauseam, affecting virtually every sector. The people are now hopeful that the transition period will come grinding to a halt forever and development will pick up momentum. For this to happen, political stability is a must, which is possible when there is a stable government.
The left unification is being eyed in earnest not only by the people but also by the international community, especially India and China. The Left Alliance has therefore a point of no return in a sense. The people have been betrayed by the political parties umpteen times in the past. They can now see through any scheme or manoeuvre of any political party or leader. They cannot stand being betrayed by the left parties which were catapulted to power by them through the elections.

The conscience of the UML and the Maoist Centre also dictates that they live up to the expectations cherished by the people for a stable government and political stability. Respecting the popular mandate, desires and expectations should be the main concern of the Left Alliance. As the people have reposed faith in the Left Alliance mainly because of the agenda of stable government and party unification, the UML and the Maoist Centre should also deliver on their election promises. For this, they should pull out all the stops to steer clear of any difficulty that may come in the way of the left unification.

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