Your search keywords:

Communist unity or just a coalition of convenience?

Communist unity or just a coalition of convenience?

Is it possible for Nepal’s major communist parties to unite and establish a robust, unified communist entity? Leaders from the prominent leftist parties—CPN (Maoist Center), CPN-UML, and CPN (Unified Socialist)—acknowledge the allure of such a union, yet express doubts about its realization. They attribute this uncertainty mainly to the intricacies of power-sharing dynamics and the personal egos of senior figures.

In Nepal’s modern political history, a powerful communist party Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was formed in 2018 after the unification between CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center). However, the harmony among its top leaders—KP Sharma Oli, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and Madhav Kumar Nepal—proved short-lived. The root cause of their discord lay in a struggle for control over both the party and the government. Despite initial attempts at reconciliation, subsequent alliances faltered, leading to renewed efforts on March 4 to pursue the vision of a unified communist front. While Dahal remains vocal about his commitment to this cause, UML adopts a cautious stance, refraining from labeling it as a communist alliance outright.

UML leaders suspect Dahal's motives, viewing his push for unity as a tactic to prolong his tenure and retain power under the guise of communist solidarity. Dahal, however, has clarified his intentions, stating that his aim was to unite leftist parties, not to secure the prime ministership. Following the formation of a new coalition, Dahal and Oli made concerted efforts to persuade CPN (Unified Socialist) leader Nepal to join, possibly even offering him the premiership after Dahal. However, tensions surfaced when Nepal's faction aligned with the Nepali Congress, causing a rift among the leaders to form the government in Sudurpaschim province. The fact that the three communist parties failed to field a common candidate for the upcoming by-election in Ilam-2 also suggests the lack of trust between them.   

On Monday, Oli clearly said that the unity among the communist parties could be detrimental to both the current government and the country. While he acknowledged the importance of unity, the UML chair was critical of the parties that claim to be leftist and align with the Nepali Congress. He was hinting at the CPN (Unified Socialist)-Nepali Congress alliance in Sudurpaschim. Oli cautioned against harboring the illusion of political strength through unification with such entities.

The notion of communist unity holds appeal mainly for second-rung leaders and they are actively seeking to realize it. They seem hopeful despite the apparent reluctance shown by the senior leaders. 

Leaders who have made communist unity their agenda say it will take some time for the parties to come together. According to one Maoist leader, unification between communist parties is inevitable.  

“To face up with the new political forces, there is no alternative for the communist parties to come together,” he says.

But Nepal’s communist parties have historically been plagued by factionalism and division. Theirs is a history of polarization and intragroup conflicts. As the murmurs grow regarding the unification among major communist parties, so too do whispers of an alliance between Congress and UML. Only time will tell if the leftist forces can set aside their differences and march as one towards a shared future.