In a major development in the Nepali political landscape, the two major leftist forces-CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre),along with the Babu Ram Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party-Nepal, on Tuesday announced a broader electoral alliance ahead of the upcoming provincial and federal elections.
UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Naya Shakti Party-Nepal Coordinator Bhattarai signed a six-point agreement amid a press conference in the Capital. The top leaders hailed the development as a ‘milestone’ in Nepali politics and the beginning of a progressive alliance that would unify other leftist and democratic forces that advocate for change.
They also agreed to form an eight-member panel that would work for a formal merger of the three parties at the earliest. The committee, with four members from the UML, three from Maoist Centre and one from the Naya Shakti, led by Oli and Dahal will prepare a detailed blueprint and plan for the purpose.
According to Maoist Centre leader Janardan Sharma, 60 percent of the seats would be allocated to the UML and remaining 40 percent would be allocated to Maoist Centre in the upcoming polls.
While the UML and the Naya Shakti will be using sun as the election symbol, the Maoist Centre owing to legal issues will continue using its own symbol hammer and sickle in the elections.
The parties have also agreed to form a drafting committee to prepare the party’s policy and statute and complete the merger after the provincial and federal elections. To facilitate the process, they have decided to hold discussions on the party issues but avoid derogative statements against each other in public. Announcing that there will a joint manifesto for the upcoming elections, the three parties have called on other political forces join the alliance.
“Nepali people have aspired for this unity and this unity is the need of the country. We have begun a journey of unification,” Oli said, claiming that the new alliance is aiming for two-thirds majority in the provincial and federal polls and form a government that would promote nationality, unity, sovereignty and maintain balanced relations with the neighbours and the international community.
“I urge UML cadres to participate in this process with happiness. I also appeal Maoist Centre and Naya Shakti Party-Nepal cadres to march ahead with confidence,” Oli said.
The leaders stated that they had been working since long in different stature for bringing the political forces sharing a common ideology together to strengthen the national unity, ultimately leading to the current development.
Maoist Centre Chairman Dahal, who is a key partner of the incumbent coalition, said that he had envisioned forming a unified leftist force immediately after signing the Comprehensive Peace Accord, an agreement between the seven-party alliance and the then CPN (Maoist) in 2006, that brought to an end the decade-long Maoist conflict.
“We had initiated a serious discourse for the formation of a single communist party. This quest is getting completed after 10 years,” Dahal said, clarifying that the current move is not intended against anybody and will work in the interest of Nepali people. He appealed to the leftist forces to join the alliance to develop a new model of socialism.
The Maoist Centre chief also told the conference that it would continue its support to the Nepali Congress-led government as it is mandated to conduct the elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.
Naya Shakti Party-Nepal Coordinator Bhattarai said the new alliance would bring about a massive political polarisation and create a new discourse. “The alliance should work towards strengthening the national unity by bringing together people from the Himalayas, Hills and the Tarai,” he said.
Oli exemplifying the recent decision of five dissident leaders of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal led by its presidium member Hridesh Tripathi to contest the upcoming elections under UML symbol urged other parties to follow the suit for forging a broader political alliance.
- To form an eight-member party unification coordination committee with the objective to merge the three parties
- The committee will have four members from the UML, three from the Maoist Centre and one from Naya Shakti Party-Nepal. The committee will prepare a detailed blueprint and plan
- To form a document drafting committee to prepare the party’s policy and statute. Complete the unification process after holding the parliamentary and provincial elections.
- To hold discussions on the party issues and not to speak derogative statements against each other in public
- UML and Maoist Centre to forge an electoral alliance to share seats in Federal Parliament and Provincial Assemblies in a 60:40 ratio
- To prepare a joint manifesto for the upcoming elections and form a manifesto drafting committee for the upcoming Parliamentary elections.
- To call on other political forces to forge electoral alliance