Nepal's two ruling communist parties merged Thursday to form a unified Nepal Communist Party, or NCP, after winning a parliament majority in last December's elections as a coalition of left-wing parties.
After eight months of planning, the Party Unification Coordination Committee decided to unify the Communist Party of Nepal–United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the former Maoist insurgent group Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-Maoist Center), the country's two biggest left-wing parties.
The final decision was made Wednesday, as Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli held a meeting with representatives of both parties at the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar, in which members of the NCP took the oath of office and secrecy.
It was decided that the new party would be registered Thursday, marking the Madan-Ashrit memorial day. “Both CPN-UML and CPN Maoist Centre will dissolve,” said CPN-Maoist Center leader Janardan Sharma on Wednesday. “A new party will be registered at the Election Commission tomorrow.”
The Madan-Ashrit memorial day commemorates the death of CPN-UML's General Secretary Madan Kumar Bhandari and Organization Department Chief, Jivraj Ashrit, in a road accident in 1993.
The NCP will have the former heads of the previous parties, Prime Minister Oli from the CPN-UML and Pushpa Kamal Dahal from the CPN-Maoist Center, as co-chairmen with equal power. It also includes a nine-member board.
The new party's central committee will include 241 members from the former CPN-UML and 200 from CPN-Maoist Center, and its 43-member standing committee will have 25 representatives from the CPN-UML and 18 from CPN-Maoist Center. The central committee was arranged on a 55-45 member basis.
Former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal were named as the senior leaders of the new party.
Both parties, in alliance with the center-left New Force Party, won 113 out of the 165 directly elected seats at the House of Representatives. The remaining 110 were elected through a proportional representation system, assigning 174 to the leftist coalition out of 275.
The NCP has the sun as its symbol, which was the election symbol of the CPN-UML. The properties of both parties will be transferred to the CPN.
“After the merger the CPN-UML-led government will enjoy two third majority in the parliament,”said Sunil Manandhar, from the CPN-Maoist Center, who also assured the new political force is a Marxist Leninist party.