Poll body refuses to give legitimacy to either faction of Nepal Communist PartyFactions led by Oli and Dahal and Nepal have failed to follow procedures, officials say.
The Election Commission on Sunday refused to give legitimacy to either of the factions of the Nepal Communist Party–one led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the other by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal.
The commission said both factions failed to follow the Political Parties Act-2017 and the party statute.
Two days after Oli dissolved the House of Representatives, Dahal and Nepal broke away with Oli on December 22. Since then, both factions are staking claim to the Nepal Communist Party, which was born out of a merger between then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) in May 2018, as their own. Both factions are vying for the sun as their election symbol.
“Details about the Nepal Communist Party could not be updated as decisions taken by both sides were not in line with the party’s statute,” commission spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha told the Post. “Therefore the commission has decided to notify both chairs of the Nepal Communist Party–KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal–that the commission will maintain the existing details of the party.”
Oli and Dahal were declared chairs of the Nepal Communist Party in May 2018 as per the party statute.
The commission has concluded that decisions taken by both sides failed to follow the provisions of the party statute that was submitted to the commission.
The Election Commission decision means even though the party has practically split, it continues to remain intact–technically and legally.
After dissolving the House, Oli has declared snap polls for April 30 and May 10, and the commission’s decision on the party split is crucial.
The commission’s Sunday decision followed the Dahal-Nepal faction’s move ousting Oli as a general member of the party.
Another official at the commission said that the decision was taken as per Clause 25 (6) of Political Parties Act-2017, which states that the commission would recognise the existing details of the party if it is not satisfied with details submitted by the factions.
As per Section 51 of the Political Parties Act-2017, a party needs to apply at the commission to update details if the party’s name, statute, regulation, stamp, flag and officer-bearers are changed or amended.
Only if the commission is satisfied with the submitted details does it recognise and update the changes that it has been notified of. If not, as per Clause 25 (6) of the Political Parties Regulations, the commission will recognise the existing details of the party.
According to a senior official at the commission, the commission could not update the details regarding the Nepal Communist Party as both sides came up with their decisions without following the party’s own statue.
“While taking a decision to remove KP Oli from the post of chairperson and appoint a new chairperson, the Dahal-Nepal faction failed to follow the party’s statute,” said an official at the commission.
On December 22, the Dahal-Nepal faction appointed the two leaders as the chairs.
“Likewise, the Oli faction’s decision to remove Dahal as the executive chair and expand the Central Committee was also against the party statute,” said the official.
As per Political Parties Act, any faction should provide signatures of 40 percent of Central Committee members to claim the mother party or register a new party.
The provision in the party statute that a party member subjected to action should be given time for clarification was not followed while taking action against Oli by the Dahal-Nepal faction, according to the commission.
The party’s statute says that a two-thirds majority of the relevant committee or commission of the party is needed to appoint someone in the vacant post of office-bearer.
Expansion of the Central Committee by the Oli faction also goes against the party’s statute, which allows the party’s Central Committee to nominate a maximum of 10 percent of its total strength as new members, according to the commission.
Before the present dispute arose, the Nepal Communist Party’s Central Committee had 445 members. But Oli expanded the party’s Central Committee to 1,199 members, adding 556 members and with the provision of adding another 197 more in future. But while notifying the commission, the Oli faction had said it had increased the number of Central Committee members to 1,501.
The Dahal-Nepal faction has claimed that it has the support of two-thirds members of the 445 Central Committee members.
“Both factions failed to address the shortcomings about which we had notified them earlier,” said Shrestha, the commission spokesperson.