Leaders of both the parties confirmed with Setopati that CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli and his CPN (Maoist Center) counterpart Pushpa Kamal Dahal have almost reached an agreement on leadership, ideological issues and organizational structure.
There was no progress in party unification even after the election that completed on December 7 despite the two parties agreeing in principle for unification while announcing the left alliance for the election on October 3, 2017. The issue of leadership was the bone of contention.
Maoist Center had proposed that a single person should not lead both the unified party and the government, and claimed that Dahal should get to lead the party if Oli becomes prime minister (PM).
But UML was not prepared to hand over the reins of the party to Dahal yet. It had proposed that Oli should be PM and chairman at least until the general convention for unification. UML in the past few weeks had been proposing that Oli should be chairman and Dahal co-chairman.
Both the parties have made a compromise and opted to go for two co-chairmen.
The chairman duo during the one-on-one meeting held at an undisclosed location in Lalitpur on Monday agreed that Oli will be the next PM and the two leaders will be co-chairmen until the general convention for unification.
Leaders of both the parties confided with Setopati that the agreement has been reached following one-on-one meetings between Oli and Dahal in the past few days, and the consultations the two leaders had with top leaders of their respective parties.
The two leaders have also reached agreement on another contentious issue of ideology about how to combine the People’s Multiparty Democracy of UML and Maoism of the Maoist Party. They have now agreed to keep both the ideologies until the general convention and do ideological synthesis then.
They have also agreed to form a single central committee, politburo and standing committee combining that of both the parties.
A UML leader said further discussions will be needed to decide the composition and structure of the two parties. “Both the chairmen will again meet on Tuesday. Meeting of coordination committee for unification has been called for Wednesday after the two chairmen forge consensus about representation in those committees at the top level of their respective parties,” the UML leader said.
The leaders have confided that the coordination committee meeting on Wednesday will in all likelihood forge consensus in all the remaining issues. “The framework of unification will be announced in a couple of days by forming a task force even if a few issues remain to be resolved,” according to a Maoist leader.
The leaders revealed that party unification will be announced before the government is formed by the end of third week of February.