Finalise provincial govt formation, NA candidates, alliance task force told

Kathmandu, January 10

CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal today directed the joint task force to carry out ground work for forging electoral alliance for the upcoming National Assembly election and formation of provincial government.

Following their meeting at Oli’s residence in Balkot, Bhaktapur, the two leaders issued such directives to the task force, which was formed yesterday comprising six members — three from each party — to finalise common candidates for the NA election and formation of provincial government.

“The task force will analyse the parties’ vote strength in local units, vote weightage in the electoral college, capacity and qualification of prospective chief ministers and speakers, social balance, and party unity prospects. The two chairmen directed us the same,” member of the task force representing the UML Shankar Pokharel told The Himalayan Times. “We will also study which party will get what responsibility in provincial assemblies and governments.”

The left alliance has comfortable majority in six of the seven provinces, except in Province 2.

While nominating candidates for the NA elections, the alliance will abide by constitutional provisions such as reservations, said Pokhrel.

Parties need to nominate eight candidates in each of the seven provinces. Of the eight candidates, three must be women, one from the Dalit community, and one from either minorities or differently-abled person, as per the constitutional provision.

“We will also finalise which party will field who and from which province,” Pokharel said.

The National Assembly election is slated for February 7, but the government has yet to name province chiefs and temporary provincial headquarters.

Appointment of provincial chiefs is crucial for holding NA election as the electoral college includes provincial assembly members who are yet to be sworn in due to the absence of province chiefs. According to the constitution, the Election Commission has to submit the final results of provincial assembly elections to province chiefs who will then administer oath of office and secrecy to provincial assembly members.

The left alliance has said it was the government’s job to name provincial headquarters and province chiefs. Earlier, the UML had opposed the idea of the incumbent government naming province chiefs.

Prior to his departure to Thailand for medical treatment today, Oli said: “It’s the government’s duty to name provincial headquarters and province chiefs. But the government is trying to extend its tenure by delaying it.”

Oli also said unification of the two left parties would be completed in the next 15 days, adding that he would expedite the unification process after he returns from Thailand.

When asked whether he was ready to leave the post of chairman of the unified party to Dahal, Oli said: “It’s too early to talk about this issue. I would have told you something if we had planned to merge the parties after two to four years. But since unification is happening within two weeks, I think I should not speak anything about it.”

Oli also said that ‘regressive forces’ were doing their bit to jeopardise unification. “We will prove that their attempts are futile,” said Oli. “Conspiracy theorists have always wanted to push the country towards instability.