The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), the largest political party in Nepal, is heading for split on Wednesday as the faction led by senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal applied for the registration of a new party.
As many as 95 leaders from the party, including 58 from the existing Central Committee, applied to the Election Commission for the establishment of Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (Socialist) to be headed by Madhav Kumar Nepal, with former prime minister Jhala Nath Khanal in the second rank, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The disputes between Madhav Kumar Nepal and K.P. Sharma Oli, chair of the CPN (UML), had deepened after the Nepal faction supported the bid for the premiership by Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba against Oli and helped Deuba win a vote of confidence on July 18 by garnering a majority of votes in the House of Representatives.
“We have applied for the registration of a new party,” Metmani Chaudhary, a Central Committee member from the Nepal faction and a member of the House of Representatives, told Xinhua. “We had to opt for a split following continuous humiliation by the Oli faction.”
He said the new party will join the government once the Election Commission formally registers it. As many as 23 lawmakers from the CPN-UML were siding with the Nepal faction as it opted for a split.
An ordinance to amend Political Parties Act-2017 recommended by the Deuba government on Monday was promulgated by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Wednesday, making it easier for a political party to split as it asks for any group to have control of only 20 per cent of members of the Central Committee or the Parliamentary Party to register a new party, instead of the original 40 per cent for control of both the Central Committee and the Parliamentary Party.
Raj Kumar Shrestha, a spokesman at the Election Commission, said along with the Nepal faction from the CPN-UML, a faction from the Janata Samajbadi Party has also applied for the formation of a separate party.
“The commission will study both applications and formally register the parties if they comply with the existing legal provisions,” Shrestha told Xinhua, adding that “the commission will take a decision in 45 days at most.”