Oli, Dahal to head govt 'by turns'

December 18, 2017 07:00 AM Roshan Sedhai


If the negotiation process moves forward as expected, the Maoist Center is likely to form governments in two provinces as demanded. 

KATHMANDU, Dec 18: CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal will rotate the premiership for two-and-a-half years each in line with a broader understanding reached between the two parties before the announcement of the left alliance, according to leaders privy to the negotiations on the power-sharing deal. 

Cross-party leaders said that negotiations are underway for other major positions including the president, parliament speaker as well as chief ministers for six of the seven provinces where the left alliance secured a landslide victory in the parliamentary and provincial polls held on November 26 and December 7. 

If the negotiation process moves forward as expected, the Maoist Center is likely to form governments in two provinces as demanded. 

 "Our preference will be to form our government in provinces 6 and 7. But we would be happy to give up our claim on Province 7 if UML offers another province," said Maoist Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal. 

While the UML appears willing to support the Maoist Center to form governments in two provinces, the largest party wants to keep two key positions - president and parliament speaker, with itself. The Maoist Center has staked its claim for one of the two positions. 

 "Maoists will get deputy vice president or deputy speaker or both positions," said a UML leader. 

Leaders said that senior leaders of the two parties are working to resolve the differences amicably. They said that the two parties would come up with a tentative framework on power sharing at the center and the provinces within a week. 

Negotiations are also underway between the two parties to hammer out a deal on possible merger. UML Chair Oli and Maoist Chair Dahal had announced possible merger between the two leftist forces during the announcement of electoral alliance. 
Leaders said that the united party would follow a collective leadership during transition period before the first general convention. 

"Dahal will lead the party while Oli will head the government. But the arrangement might change with conclusion of the unification process," said another Maoist leader involved in negotiation. 

While the Maoist Center is willing to embrace collective leadership, some UML leaders including UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokharel have stressed on one-man leadership. Pokharel, who has been viewed as Oli's likely successor, has said that Oli should be both prime minister and party chairman. Some other UML leaders including Madhav Nepal have stressed on the need of collective leadership.

 "There is a strong chance that both Oli and Dahal will agree on one-man leadership due to their leadership style. But Dahal would be at least seeking warranty that he would be party chairman after Oli resigns," said a UML leader. 

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