Much-awaited Deal Sealed, Finally !
The two communist parties of the country have now agreed to merge their parties through a written agreement. The 7-point agreement between the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre has now created a basis for the two parties to unify through the general convention.
According to the agreement signed by the eight members of the Party Unification Coordination Committee (PUCC), the new unified party will be called Nepal Communist Party, while the Marxism-Leninism would be the guiding ideology of the unified party. Despite exhibiting their craving to cling to the communist ideology, both sides have agreed to embrace the democratic multiparty polity to achieve their ultimate goal of socialism for the Nepali society.
The Monday night’s deal has now created a basis for the two communist parties to further their merger process and has laid to the rest the dispute over the ideologies which have so far shaped the guiding principles of the two parties. Earlier, the CPN-UML had been reluctant to give up its party ideology of the People’s Multiparty Democracy while MC had shown a strong desire to cling to the party’s ideology of Maoism. However, following several rounds of one-on-one dialogues between UML chair Oli and MC chief Dahal, both parties agreed to embrace the Marxism-Leninism as the guiding principle of the new “Nepal Communist Party.”
The deal has also paved the way for former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led MC to join the KP Sharma Oli-headed government. Despite contesting the November-December 2017 general elections for the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies jointly, which has given them a huge majority in the parliament and has produced six left-led governments in the six provinces, both parties were locked in a dispute over the modality of the party merger, guiding principle of the new party and sharing of key positions in the government and the party.
The Maoist Centre had denied participating the government even after KP Sharma Oli was appointed prime minister on the party’s support because both parties had failed to sort out the outstanding issues. It had given rise to the rumours that the two left parties would take a long time to settle these perplexing issues. However, following the long rounds of parleys between the two top leaders, both parties agreed to seal the deal on the party merger by agreeing to embrace the guiding principle of the new party and sharing the key position in the party and to head the government by two chairpersons on rotation.
What is remarkable about the new agreement is- the top leaders of the UML, MC and the PUCC opted to keep out some key issues in the Monday night’s written agreement signed by UML chairman Oli, senior leaders Jhalnath Khanal, Madhav Kumar Nepal Bam Dev Gautam and Ishwor Pokhrel and MC chief Dahal, and leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa.
The issues of heading the party as the chairperson and leading the government as a prime minister were agreed upon through the “gentlemen’s agreement”. The chairmen of the both parties would head the government by sharing five year term of the government and would also share the party’s leadership as chairmen in equal capacity. They will head meetings on a rotational basis as equally powerful chairperson.
Though there are other outstanding issues to be settled before the party unification, such as the management of top and second-rung leaders as well as district and local level leaders of their respective parties, the agreement is expected to bring political stability in the country. The huge majority that the Oli government has enjoyed has now effectively ended the long-running practice of the Nepali politics where changes in government take place in quick succession, owing to a lack of comfortable majority to a party.
Now, the two-party headed government can not only take major decisions as per their policies, programmes and election manifestoes and can also guide the nation towards any direction as per their liking for the next five year. Ever since both parties won a huge majority in the elections, leaders of these parties have uttered “political stability, development and prosperity” to be the order of the day in the Nepali politics till the next general election is held in the nation.
Following the MC’s decision to join the government, all eyes would on the two-party led government regarding how it would deliver on the promises it had made to the people while contesting the elections jointly and on the slogan of stability, development and prosperity in the nation.
In the meantime, the leaders of the left alliance would be watched closely when the time will come to give respect to the “Gentlemen’s Agreement.” We have many instances in the past when leaders had betrayed the coalition partners despite making the so called Gentlemen’s Agreement. Not long ago, the MC chair Dahal had “toppled” the Oli-headed government in 2016 after Oli was accused of failing to hand over the rein of power to Dahal as per the then Gentlemen’s Agreement, which both of them had reached while forming the Oli led government.
Also, the upcoming general convention of the parties, which would elect the new leadership of the unified party, would also be awaited with bated breath by many in the country. The general convention will actually be a test for both parties. The victory of the leader as a chairperson would also throw light on the psyche and inclination of the leaders belonging to the two parties, which decided to unify through that convention.
It is said that the Monday’s night’s 7-point agreement had to happen because the top leaders of the two left parties were bound to ink such an agreement owing to the promises they had made to the people during the election time. They had fought the election with the promise to unify their parties once they would win the majority and the form the majority government, which they have appeared to have done now.
The agreement has thus been regarded as the deliverance of promises which both parties had made to the people. With the formation of the two-party government, the left alliance has to move towards achieving the goal of political stability, development and prosperity of the people and the nation, the main election plank of the both parties.