Parties consider collective leadership

KATHMANDU: ‘Collective leadership’ is one of the much-discussed terminologies in Nepali politics in the recent months. After the CPN-UML embraced collective leadership in party structure from its eighth general convention, demands to adopt similar system of party governance have been doing rounds in UCPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress too.

While the NC is at the final state of adopting collective leadership

to strengthen internal democracy in the party by amending its statute, leaders of the UCPN-M too have been demanding that the leadership bring an end to unitary leadership.

Prior to the eighth general convention of the UML, almost all the parties had beenpractising unitary leadership. Under this system, a chairperson or a general secretary with executive power is elected by the party’s general convention. Though there are other positions in the party, leadership will still become unitary because the elected executive enjoyed the privilege of nominating other office-bearers — vice-chairperson, secretary and members.

But under the collective leadership, the elected head enjoys

limited power and other office-bearers in the party executive committee are also elected by the

general convention.

Party leaders and activists, who are fed up with the long-practised leadership structure, are now eager to embrace the new structure which, they believe, will strengthen the party’s internal democracy and help make the leadership accountable to the party and the party cadres.

However, political pundits say even the collective leadership structure has pros and cons and it all depends on how the parties implement it. UCPN-M leader Devendra Paudel ‘Sunil’ said the issue of was being discussed in the party’s central committee. “Voices have been raised in the party to adopt similar system. It is true that internal democracy in the party may weaken if the party practises unitary leadership,” Paudel said, adding, “The approach may enhance team spirit.”

NC central member Binaya Dhwoj Chand said a majority of party leaders and cadres was demanding the party to adopt collective leadership. “Collective leadership is far better than the unitary leadership. It makes the leadership accountable to the party and the cadres, as all office-bearers are elected and not nominated,” he added. Chand also said decision making process was not influenced by any particular leader under collective leadership structure.

UML general secretary Ishwor Pokharel said they had become successful in transforming the party from its eight general convention. “We may face some difficulties in this new system. But we will move ahead by learning from

our experiences. We adopted collective leadership structure to

enhance internal democracy in the party,” he added.

Krishna Pokhrel, professor of political science, said the party was more transparent under the collective leadership structure, as leadership is elected through a democratic process and decisions are also made collectively. He further added that the leadership was more accountable to the party activists under the collective leadership structure.

“But there also are some negative aspects of this structure. Chances of the formation of parallel power centres are high under this structure and the leadership may face difficulties while taking big decisions,” he added.