Chinese delegation meets Nepal president amid political crisis

Wednesday 30th December 2020 05:27 EST

Kathmandu: A high-level Chinese delegation led by a vice minister of the Communist Party of China last week called on Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari ahead of meeting other top leaders to patch up differences between the two warring factions of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, a week after the surprise dissolution of parliament and subsequent political turmoil.

Vice minister of the international department of the CPC Guo Yezhou arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday and met President Bhandari at the Rastrapati Bhawan. The move is believed to be China’s desperate attempt to avert a vertical split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). They discussed matters relating to further strengthening centuries-old bilateral relations, said an official at the president’s office.

Guo, who personally knows all senior NCP leaders, is scheduled to meet PM K P Sharma Oli, according to sources. He will also hold meetings with senior political leaders including NCP’s executive chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, who has replaced Oli as chairman of the Prachanda-led faction of the party, and chairman of Janata Samajwadi Party Baburam Bhattarai, according to sources.

The Chinese embassy and the ministry of foreign affairs are tight-lipped about Guo’s visit. His visit is aimed at “taking stock of Nepal’s evolving political situation after the dissolution of the House of Representatives and subsequent split in the ruling NCP amid already-deepened intra-party rift”, My Republica newspaper reported. China is not happy with the split in the largest communist party of Nepal, according to sources.

Guo will make efforts to patch up differences between the two warring factions of the ruling party - one led by Oli and the other led by Prachanda - during his four-day stay in Nepal, according to the Kathmandu Post. Earlier, Gou travelled to Kathmandu in February 2018 when Oli-led CPN-UML and Prachanda-led NCP (Maoist Centre) - were all set to merge and form a unified communist party following victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections. Later in May, 2018, the two communist parties merged and formed a new party named Nepal Communist Party, the paper said.

Guo will assess the situation inside the ruling party and will encourage both factions of the NCP to seek some kind of common ground for party unity, the Post said, quoting party leaders. He will communicate the message of Chinese leadership, including that of President Xi Jinping's, to the NCP leadership, a ruling party leader said. “Besides this, the Chinese side has not communicated to us anything about the visit,” the leader told the Post on condition of anonymity. “China has carefully chosen and sent Gou at a time when unity inside our party is shaken,” a Standing Committee member of the NCP said.

Showcause notice to Oli govt

Meanwhile, Nepal’s Supreme Court issued a showcause notice to Oli-led government, asking it to furnish a written clarification over its decision to abruptly dissolve parliament. The notice was issued after a preliminary hearing at the five-member Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on the writ petitions filed against the government’s decision to dissolve the 275-member House of Representatives.

The bench sought the written clarification from the PM office and council of minister and office of the president as they are made defendants in all the writ petitions, it said. Earlier, Chief Justice Rana’s single bench forwarded all writ petitions to the Constitutional bench. Altogether 13 writ petitions have been registered at the apex court challenging the government’s decision to dissolve parliament.

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