The union was formally announced at a press meet in Kathmandu after registering the new party at the Election Commission. This is now the most powerful party Nepal has ever had with 174 seats in the 275-member Parliament, and can comfortably rule the country for the next five years. It can also amend the Constitution if one of the two Madhes-based parties backs it, to take the combined strength to two-thirds.
Leftist analyst Shyam Shrestha thinks the NCP is now one of the most powerful communist parties in the world: “Only China and Vietnam have communist parties more powerful than the NCP, there is reason to celebrate.”
The opposition Nepali Congress, which was the first elected party in Parliament in 1960 and governed Nepal for most of the period after democracy was restored in 1990, will now be further weakened. It has accused the united Left of dragging the country to communist authoritarianism. Shrestha disagrees: “We are living in a modern democracy where dictatorship cannot thrive.”
Shrestha is upbeat that the emergence of a strong political force has effectively ended an era of political instability in Nepal. The unity drive was first announced before elections last October, but ran into trouble over power-sharing and leadership issues after the alliance swept polls.