Oli, Prachanda patch up; China plays mediator

Oli may offer Prachanda NCP’s sole chairmanship at the party’s upcoming national convention and prime ministership for the next term

Following Chinese intervention, Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli and his rival in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka ‘Prachanda’ have agreed to calling a temporary ceasefire before today’s intra-party meeting aimed at ending the political stalemate in the Himalayan country.

Sources said the Oli faction had agreed to put on hold street protests against the Prachanda camp in a bid to build an environment conducive to talks. Oli may offer Prachanda NCP’s sole chairmanship at the party’s upcoming national convention and prime ministership for the next term.

Over the weekend, the Chinese envoy to Nepal, Hou Yanqi was involved in hectic parleys with various factions of the NCP to save the regime. Following this initiative, the regime survived, sources in Kathmandu said.

Senior NCP leaders, including Prachanda, have been seeking Oli’s resignation. According to them, Oli’s recent anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate”.

The political future of Oli will be decided today. The meeting of the NCP’s 45-member Standing Committee was scheduled to be held yesterday, but it was postponed at the last minute. Oli and Prachanda were expected to meet on 6 July m ahead of the meeting. Oli’s press advisor Surya Thapa said the meeting had been postponed until Wednesday (today).

The differences between the two NCP factions — one led by Oli and the other led by party’s executive chairman Prachanda on the issue of power-sharing — intensified following the prime minister’s unilateral decision to prorogue the budget session of the parliament last Thursday.

The development follows China’s ambassador Hou Yanqi met NCP’s senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal on 5 July. Hou had also called on Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari the next day.

This is not the first time that the Chinese ambassador has intervened in Nepal’s internal affairs at a time of crisis. Recently, when NCP’s intra-party feud had reached its climax, Hou held separate meetings with Bhandari, Oli and other senior leaders including Prachanda.

For the third time, NCP’s standing committee meeting has been postponed. Last week, the meeting was postponed twice to allow Oli and Prachanda time to iron out their differences over power-sharing. The Prachanda-led faction has asked Oli to resign from both the posts of the prime minister and NCP chairman. Oli is not ready to quit any of the two key posts.

There has been a demand from the party’s senior leaders and cadre to adhere to the principle of ‘one man one post’ in the party. If Oli sacrifices one of the two executive posts, a solution to the present crisis could be found, said sources.

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