Implications Of The Left Unity
Debunking various speculations, the two major communist parties in Nepal- CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) have finally formed a united party named Nepal Communist Party. On the occasion of Madan Aashrit Memorial Day, the two parties materialised their dream of establishing a strong communist party that can take up the challenge of national prosperity and development. After more than six months of intense discussions which have primarily centred around the balance of power, the merger process has finally come to a logical end.
Scholars who have been involved in the study of the Nepal’s Communist movement say that about six dozens of communist parties have emerged in Nepal in the last seven decades. While it is not a new phenomenon among the Nepal’s communist party to split and unite as their history demonstrates, the merger process has largely generated positive vibes in the society.
As per the final agreement leading to unity, there will be a 441-member central committee. In a bid to pacify the CPN (Maoist Centre), CPN-UML has allocated 45 per cent of the total seats keeping only 55 per cent with itself. Regarding the standing committee structure, 25 will be from CPN-UML and 17 will represent the CPN (Maoist Centre).
Meanwhile, both parties have sealed a deal on keeping ‘Sun’ as the election symbol. The disputed issue of the ideological plank of the new party has also been settled with the guiding principle of the party being ‘socialism oriented people’s multiparty people’s democracy until the general convention.
While it is a good news that these parties have kept their promise and stepped up to work whole-heartedly with collective spirit, the manner in which the integration process was finally concluded still casts some doubt over the long term stability of the newly formed party. Continuing the precedence of making breakthrough overnight, the merger process has exhibited visible signs of unsustainability. Even the first half of this week was flooded with the news of the growing rift between these two coalition partners in the present cabinet. Shockingly, in the next two days of the same week, the unification process took a dramatic turn further disseminating a positive message among the party cadre who have been enthusiastically observing this discourse.
Furthermore, the agreement between the two leaders to co-chair the party until the general convention and the sharing of the leadership positions of PM and party chairmanship might affect the continuity of the present government under the leadership of the current PM KP Oli. At a time when this government has shown some visible signs of progress, it would be unwise to change the guard of the government on the pretext of such a ‘gentleman’s agreement’.
With one to one discussion between the UML chairman KP Oli and the Maoist veteran Pushpa Kamal Dahal dominating the entire unification discussion, a significant community of leaders within both parties have been side lined during the consultation process. Although a party unity coordination committee was formed, it simply approved the decisions reached at the top level. Thus, it would be too early to say that the new party will function smoothly.
As the disgruntled leaders of both the parties had also expressed their resentment publicly on the merger process being non-inclusive and centred towards managing the expectations of the two party chairman, the subtle disagreements have been exposed.
Nevertheless, it is definitely an unprecedented event in the history of Nepalese politics for various reasons. First, the new unified party commands almost two-thirds majority (10 members short) in the federal parliament. Second, with phase of the political and social movements almost coming to an end after the declaration of the Federal Democratic Republic Nepal, the entire effort of the present government can be directed towards economic prosperity and development. Third, the left unity also has a fair enough support of the non-partisan public and civil society who have become frustrated with the unstable politics.
Turning the momentous opportunity into the creation of a developed nation with equitable distribution of resources, the newly formed party can carve a trajectory of the long run development in Nepal. This unity will bring auspices to the society and the nation only when the leaders work in close coordination with other stakeholders of politics- opposition parties, pressure groups, media and civil society. Hence, the government must mobilise support and co-operation from other parties and non-state actors to achieve its vision of a better Nepal.
In sum, we can definitely be excited with the unity of left alliance because the public mandate has also been ratified by CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre). The onus is on the new party leadership to keep our faith intact and give hope of a better and prosperous Nepal. This time the possibility of achieving the development goals is high with the new government enjoying unprecedented level of power and authority to implement its policy.
It could be now or never that the seed of a prosperous Nepal is sown.