Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist)

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) (Nepali: नेपाल कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी (एकीकृत मार्क्सवादी-लेनिनवादी), romanized: nēpāla kamyuniṣṭa pārṭī (ēkīkr̥ta mārksavādī-lēninavādī); abbr. CPN (UML)) is a communist political party in Nepal. The party emerged as a major party in Nepal after the end of the Panchayat era.

Communist Party of Nepal
(Unified Marxist–Leninist)
नेपाल कम्युनिष्ट पार्टी (एकीकृत मार्क्सवादी-लेनिनवादी)
ChairmanKP Sharma Oli[1]
SecretaryGokarna Bista
Yogesh Bhattarai
Padma Kumari Aryal
Chhabilal Bishwakarma
Lekh Raj Bhatta
Raghubir Mahaseth
General SecretaryShankar Pokhrel
SpokespersonPradeep Kumar Gyawali
Senior Vice-chairmanIshwar Pokhrel
Vice-chairmanAstalaxmi Shakya
Surendra Pandey
Subas Chandra Nemwang
Bishnu Prasad Paudel
Yubraj Gyawali
Ram Bahadur Thapa
Deputy General SecretaryPradeep Kumar Gyawali
Bishnu Rimal
Prithvi Subba Gurung
Founded6 January 1991; 32 years ago (1991-01-06)
Merger of
HeadquartersThapathali, Kathmandu
Student wingANNFSU
Youth wingNational Youth Association, Nepal
Women's wingAll Nepal Women's Association
Labour wingGEFONT
Membership855,000 (December 2021 est.)
People's Multiparty Democracy
Political positionLeft-wing[2][3] to far-left[4]
International affiliationIMCWP
ECN StatusNational Party
(2nd largest)
House of Representatives
77 / 275
National Assembly
17 / 59
Provincial Assemblies
161 / 550
206 / 753
11,890 / 35,011
Election symbol
Party flag


Khadga Prasad Oli has served as party chairman since the party's ninth general convention in 2014.[7] The party currently holds 78 seats in the House of Representatives, having won 26.95% of the party list votes in the 2022 general election and is the second largest parliamentary group.[8] The party is the major coalition partner in the current CPN (Maoist Centre) led coalition government.[9] There have been four prime ministers from the party while the party has led the government five times.

CPN (UML) was the main opposition after the first election following the restoration of multi-party democracy. The party led a minority government under Manmohan Adhikari following the 1994 election. The party joined a coalition government with CPN (Maoist) in 2008 in the first elections after the end of the monarchy in Nepal and led two governments under Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal during the term of the 1st Constituent Assembly. The party also led the first government after the promulgation of the new constitution with KP Sharma Oli serving as prime minister. Oli again served as prime minister following the 2017 election.

The party was formed in January 1991 after the merger of the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist). The party merged with CPN (Maoist Centre) to form the Nepal Communist Party on 17 May 2018 but the new party was dissolved and CPN (UML) was revived by a Supreme Court decision on 8 March 2021.[10][11] The party claimed to have 855,000 members as of December 2021 making them the largest party in Nepal by membership.[12]

History Edit

Origins and early years, 1991–1993 Edit

The United Left Front was formed in 1990 to protest the Panchayat system and restore multi-party democracy. They organized a joint movement with the Nepali Congress, and King Birendra yielded to their Jana Andolan in November 1990. Two constituents of the United Left Front, CPN (Marxist) and CPN (Marxist–Leninist), merged on 6 January 1991 to form the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) before the 1991 elections, and the United Left Front became inactive.[13]

Man Mohan Adhikari, first party chairman and first UML prime minister (1994–1995).

In the 1991 elections, the party won 69 of 205 seats and was the second-largest party in the House of Representatives.[14] Man Mohan Adhikari was elected head of the parliamentary group, and became the Leader of the Opposition in May 1991. On 28 June 1991, CPN (Burma) which had reconstituted itself after breaking away from CPN (United) merged into the party.[15] The fifth party congress was held in Kathmandu in January 1993, and People's Multiparty Democracy was adopted as its main ideology.[16] The same ideology of People's Multiparty Democracy theorized by Madhan Bhandari made it one of the most prominent political parties in years to come. In the fifth party congress, Adhikari was elected chairman, and Madan Bhandari was elected general secretary.[17] Bhandari was killed in a vehicle accident in Chitwan later that year, and Madhav Kumar Nepal became the party's general secretary.[13] In November 1993, CPN (Amatya) led by Tulsi Lal Amatya, which had also broken off from CPN (United), merged into the party.[17]

First government and split, 1994–1997 Edit

After the mid-term elections in 1994, the party won 88 of 205 seats in a hung parliament and formed a minority government under Man Mohan Adhikari.[14] The government lasted for nine months after Adhikari was forced to resign when he lost a no-confidence motion in September 1995. The party was back in the government in March 1997, after supporting the Lokendra Bahadur Chand-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party government. Following dissension in the RPP, Lokendra Bahadur Chand resigned and CPN (UML) returned to the opposition.[14][13]

The party faced its first split in March 1998, after disagreements about a water-sharing agreement with India. The new party formed with 46 legislators from the mother party as the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist), under the leadership of Bam Dev Gautam. The party joined the government again in December 1998, backing the Girija Prasad Koirala-led Nepali CongressNepal Sadbhawana Party coalition government.[13] In the 1999 elections, the party won 70 of 205 seats and was the second-largest party in the House of Representatives.[14]

Reunification and direct rule, 2002–2006 Edit

Most members of the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist–Leninist) rejoined the parent party on 15 February 2002, while other members led by Chandra Prakash Mainali decided to restructure the party.[13] The party's seventh general convention was held in Janakpur on February 1–6, 2003. The convention decided to abolish the post of party chair, vacant after the death of Man Mohan Adhikari and Madhav Kumar Nepal was unanimously reelected as general secretary of the party.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister (2009–2011)

When King Gyanendra dissolved Parliament and sacked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba of Nepali Congress in 2003, five other parties protested his decision. However, when Deuba was reinstated CPN (UML) joined the provisional government with Bharat Mohan Adhikari as deputy prime minister. This government was dissolved by the king on 1 February 2005 and Seven Party Alliance was formed to protest his decision. Following an agreement with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), a joint struggle was launched against the king's direct rule. On 10 April 2006, the parliament was reconvened by the king and a government was formed under Congress leader Girija Prasad Koirala.[13]

1st Constituent Assembly, 2008–2012 Edit

Former logo of CPN (UML)
Jhala Nath Khanal, Prime Minister (2011)

In the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, the party won 108 of 605 seats and finished third. Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned as general secretary, and was replaced by Jhala Nath Khanal. The party backed Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) candidate Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and joined his government in August 2008.[18] Khanal was elected party chairman and Ishwor Pokhrel general secretary by the eighth general convention in Butwal in February 2009.

In early May 2009, the CPN (UML) joined several other parties in leaving Dahal's coalition government after he sacked Army Chief of Staff Rookmangud Katawal.[19] Following their withdrawal, they formed a new coalition government with the Nepali Congress and the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum under Madhav Kumar Nepal.[20] Nepal resigned in June 2010 after failing to draft a new constitution.[21] Following more than seven months of political stalemate, Khanal was elected prime minister in February 2011 with support from the UCPN (Maoist).[22] He resigned in August after he failed to reach a consensus with the other parties on drafting a new constitution and the peace process.[22] The party joined the next government, led by Baburam Bhattarai, on 28 August 2011.[23] In November 2012, Ashok Kumar Rai broke away from the party along with other indigenous leaders and formed the Federal Socialist Party claiming that the party failed to address their concerns during the discussions for promulgation of the constitution.[24]

2nd Constituent Assembly, 2013–2017 Edit

Following Bhattarai's dissolution of the 1st Constituent Assembly after its failure to draft a new constitution before the deadline,[25] the CPN (UML) became the second-largest party after winning 175 of 575 elected seats in the 2013 elections. The party joined a coalition government under Sushil Koirala with the ruling Nepali Congress and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party.[26] In July 2014, Khadga Prasad Oli became party chair after he defeated Madhav Kumar Nepal in the party's ninth general convention.[7]

The new constitution was delivered by the coalition government on 20 September 2015.[27] After the new constitution was drafted, Sushil Koirala resigned and party chairman Khadga Prasad Oli was elected prime minister with support from the UCPN (Maoist), the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal and other parties.[28] Oli resigned in July 2016 before a motion of no confidence supported by the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre).[29]

In the 2017 local elections, 14,099 councilors, including 294 municipal mayors and rural chairs, were elected from the party to local governments. Candidates for the party were elected as mayors in major cities, including the two largest cities Kathmandu and Pokhara Lekhnath.[30][31]

1st Federal Parliament, 2017–2022 Edit

Left alliance and dissolution, 2017–2018 Edit

Former logo of the party

The party announced an alliance with the CPN (Maoist Centre) before the 2017 legislative and provincial elections.[32] The party won 121 seats, becoming the largest party in the House of Representatives,[33] and became the largest party in six of Nepal's seven provinces.[34] After the election, the party maintained its alliance with the CPN (Maoist Centre) and formed coalition governments in Nepal's centre and six of the seven provinces. According to the power-sharing agreement, the CPN (UML) would lead governments in Province 1, Province 3, Province 4 and Province 5.[35] In accordance with the agreement Sher Dhan Rai, Dormani Paudel, Prithivi Subba Gurung and Shankar Pokharel were appointed as chief ministers of their respective provinces.[36][37][38][39]

In the 6 February 2018 National Assembly election, the CPN (UML) won 27 of 56 contested seats and again became the country's largest party.[40] Party chairman Oli was elected the party's parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives and appointed prime minister on February 15.[41] Bidya Devi Bhandari was re-elected president on March 13.[42] After eight months of planning, the Unification Coordination Committee met to finalize plans for the merger of Nepal's biggest left-wing parties. On 17 May 2018, the party was dissolved and a new party, the Nepal Communist Party was formed from the CPN (UML) and the CPN (Maoist Centre).[43][44][10]

Revival and internal conflict, 2021 Edit

On 8 March 2021, the Supreme Court of Nepal stated that the allocation of the name Nepal Communist Party upon the merger of the CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Centre), and by extension the merger itself, was void ab initio, as the name was already allotted to a party led by Rishiram Kattel, and that the NCP stood "dismissed".[45] The Election Commission on 9 March 2021 formally split the party and the CPN (UML) was revived.[11] Four members of the House of Representatives and one member of the National Assembly for CPN (Maoist Centre) also defected to CPN (UML) during the split but were dismissed as parliamentarians following their defection.[46]

KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister (2015–2016 and 2018–2021)

KP Sharma Oli lost a no-confidence motion on 9 May 2021 but was reappointed as prime minister four days later after the opposition failed to prove a majority.[47] Chief minister of Gandaki, Prithvi Subba Gurung resigned before a no-confidence motion and chief Minister of Lumbini, Shankar Pokharel also lost a no-confidence motion but were similarly reappointed after the opposition failed to prove their majority.[48][49][50][51]

A cabinet meeting chaired by prime minister and party chairman KP Sharma Oli recommended the president to dissolve the House of Representatives on 22 May 2021 after members of his party led by former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal supported Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba as the next prime minister.[52] The Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives on 12 July 2021 and Oli resigned from his post the next day and Deuba was appointed prime minister.[53][54] Twenty-two members of the CPN (UML) voted for Deuba during his confidence vote defying the party whip.[55]

The party also lost its government in Gandaki and Lumbini with Gurung losing a no-confidence motion and Pokharel resigning.[56][57] Province 1 chief minister, Sher Dhan Rai and Bagmati chief minister Dormani Paudel were replaced in August of that year after losing support within their parliamentary party. They were replaced by Bhim Acharya and Asta Laxmi Shakya respectively who were elected by the parliamentary party.[58][59]

Opposition and splits, 2021–2022 Edit

On 25 August 2021, former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal split from the party along with 55 members of the Central Committee, 25 members of the House of Representatives and seven members of the National Assembly and formed the CPN (Unified Socialist).[60] Following the split, the party lost its majority in Bagmati and Province 1 and Shakya and Acharya resigned following which the party was in opposition in all seven provinces.[61][62]

The 10th National Convention of the party was held in Chitwan between 26 and 29 November 2021. The convention reelected KP Sharma Oli as the party chair.[63][64] Hridayesh Tripathi who had been elected to the House of Representatives from the CPN (UML) formed a separate party, the People's Progressive Party in December 2021.[65][66] Bamdev Gautam who served as the senior vice-chairman left the party in September 2021 and in June 2022 announced the formation of CPN (Unity National Campaign).[67][68]

In the 2022 local elections, 11,929 councillors were elected from the party including 206 mayors and rural chairs. The party lost their mayoral seats in Kathmandu and Pokhara and failed to win the mayoral elections in any of the six metropolitan cities in the country.

2nd Federal Parliament (2022–present) Edit

The party formed electoral pacts with People's Socialist Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and other minor parties to contest the 2022 general and provincial elections. Former deputy prime minister and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal chair Kamal Thapa also contested the election under the party's electoral symbol.[69][70][71] Influential leaders and incumbent members of parliament including Bhim Rawal, Ghanashyam Bhusal and Ram Bir Manandhar were denied tickets from the party. Bhusal and Manandhar later filed their candidacy as independents.[72][73] Leaders associated with former MP Prabhu Sah who had joined the party from CPN (Maoist Centre) in 2021 also decided to contest the election as independents following dissatisfaction with the electoral pact with People's Socialist Party in Madhesh. The three leaders were later supported by the Democratic Left Alliance during the elections.[74][75] Later leaders including Prabhu Sah and Ram Bir Manandhar formed Aam Janata Party.[76][77]

The party won in 44 constituencies at the 2022 general election. The party got the most votes through proportional voting and won an additional 34 seats for a total of 78 seats to the House of Representatives making them the second largest parliamentary party.[8] The party also emerged as the largest party in provincial assemblies in Province 1, Madhesh and Lumbini at the 2022 provincial elections.[78]

The party backed CPN (Maoist Centre) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal's bid to become prime minister and joined a coalition government under him on 26 December 2022. Bishnu Prasad Paudel joined the cabinet as deputy prime minister and Minister of Finance along with three other CPN (UML) MPs but the alliance couldn't last more than 2 months.[79] In the by-elections held in Bara 2, Tanahun 1 and Chitwan 2, the party was limited to third position in all these constituincies and couldn't cross 15% votes in any.[80][81]

Ideology Edit

The guiding principle of the party is Marxism–Leninism and it supports a socialism oriented economy but within the confines of a parliamentary system of governance.[82] The party had adopted the line of People's Multiparty Democracy which was proposed by Madan Bhandari at the party's 5th National Convention in 1993.[16] The party supports the establishment of a welfare system that guarantees social security and social justice to all citizens.[83]

People's Multiparty Democracy (जनताको बहुदलीय जनवाद)

Symbol Edit

Alternative flag of CPN (UML)

The election symbol of CPN (UML) is the sun which is also present in the party logo.[84] The hammer and sickle, a common symbol of communism, is also used in the party flag and logo. The party constitution determines that a golden hammer and sickle inside a red sun is the party's logo.[85]

Organisation Edit

Central organisation Edit

The National Convention is the supreme body of CPN (UML) and it is organized every five years by the party's Central Committee. The national convention elects the central secretariat and the central committee of the party. The convention also discusses and approves political documents, organisational proposals and amendments to the party constitution.[85]

The Central Committee of the party is the highest decision making body within general conventions and is responsible to the national convention. The National Convention elects a Central Secretariat consisting of a chair, a senior vice-chair, six vice-chairs, one general secretary, three deputy general secretaries and seven secretaries. The Central Secretariat along with other elected members make up the 301-member Central Committee of the party. The chairs of the seven provincial committees of the party are also ex-officio members of the Central Committee. One-third of the committee is also required to be female. The Central Committee also elects a 99-member Politburo and a 45-member Standing Committee among its members.[85]

When the Central Committee is not in session the Politburo is the highest decision making body, the Standing Committee follows the Politburo in hierarchy and the Central Secretariat follows the Standing Committee. The National Convention also elects a Central Disciplinary Commission, a Central Accounts Commission and a Central Electoral Commission. A Central Advisory Council can also be formed by the Central Committee if needed.[85]

Provincial and local organisation Edit

Party committees exist at the provincial, district, local, ward and neighborhood level. In addition to this the party has a separate special committee in the Kathmandu Valley which is in the same level as the provincial committees in the party. The provincial committee holds a provincial convention every four years and the rest of the committees hold a convention every three years except for neighborhood committees which hold a convention every two years. The convention elects the leadership and members of the committee which is the supreme decision making body in between conventions. The party also has organisational committees for areas where the party does not have presence yet.[85]

Electoral performance Edit

Legislative elections Edit

Election Leader Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
1991 Madan Bhandari 2,040,102 27.98
69 / 205
2nd In opposition
1994 Man Mohan Adhikari 2,352,601 30.85   2.87
88 / 205
  19   1st Minority government
1999 Madhav Kumar Nepal 2,728,725 31.66   0.81
71 / 205
  17   2nd In opposition
2008 Madhav Kumar Nepal 2,229,064 21.63   10.03 2,183,370 20.33
108 / 601
  37   3rd Coalition government
2013 Jhala Nath Khanal 2,492,090 27.55   5.92 2,239,609 23.66   3.33
175 / 575
  67   2nd Coalition government
2017 Khadga Prasad Oli 3,082,277 30.68   3.13 3,173,494 33.25   9.59
121 / 275
  54   1st Coalition government
In opposition
2022 Khadga Prasad Oli 3,233,567 30.83   0.15 2,845,641 26.95   6.30
78 / 275
  43   2nd Coalition government

Provincial Assembly elections Edit

Province 1 Edit

Election Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
2017 720,339 37.30 673,709 38.79
51 / 93
1st Coalition government
In opposition
2022 665,460 35.04   3.75
40 / 93
  11   1st Coalition government

Madhesh Edit

Election Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
2017 282,718 15.45 249,734 16.25
21 / 107
4th In opposition
2022 351,768 16.86   0.61
23 / 107
  2   1st Coalition government

Bagmati Edit

Election Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
2022 725,113 35.37 677,317 35.81
58 / 110
1st Coalition government
In opposition
2022 594,521 30.69   5.12
27 / 110
  31   2nd Coalition government

Gandaki Edit

Election Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
2017 268,540 26.09 373,501 39.04
27 / 60
1st Coalition government
In opposition
2022 349,628 35.47   3.57
22 / 60
  5   2nd Coalition government

Lumbini Edit

Election Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
2017 572,942 31.35 533,613 33.10
41 / 87
1st Coalition government
In opposition
2022 570,921 30.25   2.85
29 / 87
  12   1st Coalition government

Karnali Edit

Election Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
2017 180,952 32.58 169,755 34.35
20 / 40
1st Coalition government
In opposition
2022 183,950 31.83   2.52
10 / 40
  10   3rd Coalition government

Sudurpaschim Edit

Election Constituency votes Party list votes Seats Position Resulting government
No. % % change No. % % change No. +/-
2017 291,358 32.11 260,955 32.99
25 / 53
1st Coalition government
In opposition
2022 274,675 30.64   2.37
10 / 53
  15   3rd Coalition government

Local election Edit

Election Leader(s) Council Head Council Deputy Councillors Position
# +/- # +/- # +/-
2017 KP Sharma Oli
294 / 753
331 / 753
14,097 / 35,038
2022 KP Sharma Oli
206 / 753
240 / 753
11,890 / 35,011
  2,207   2nd

Leadership Edit

Chairmen Edit

1st General Secretary of CPN (UML), Madan Bhandari

General secretaries Edit

Prime Ministers of Nepal Edit

No. Prime Minister Portrait Term in office Legislature Cabinet Constituency
Start End Tenure
1 Man Mohan Adhikari   30 November 1994 12 September 1995 286 days 3rd House of Representatives Adhikari, 1994 Kathmandu 3
2 Madhav Kumar Nepal   25 May 2009 6 February 2011 1 year, 257 days 1st Constituent Assembly Madhav Nepal, 2009 Nominated
3 Jhala Nath Khanal   6 February 2011 29 August 2011 204 days 1st Constituent Assembly Khanal, 2011 Ilam 1
4 Khadga Prasad Oli   12 October 2015 4 August 2016 297 days Legislature Parliament Oli, 2015 Jhapa 7
15 February 2018 13 July 2021 3 years, 148 days 1st Federal Parliament Oli, 2018 Jhapa 5

Chief Ministers Edit

Province 1 Edit

No. Chief Minister Portrait Term in office Legislature Cabinet Constituency
Start End Tenure
1 Sher Dhan Rai
14 February 2018 26 August 2021 3 years, 193 days 1st Provincial Assembly Rai, 2018 Bhojpur 1(B)
2 Bhim Acharya 26 August 2021 1 November 2021 67 days Acharya, 2021 Sunsari 1(B)
3 Hikmat Kumar Karki 9 January 2023 Incumbent 261 days 2nd Provincial Assembly Karki, 2023 Jhapa 5 (A)

Bagmati Province Edit

No. Chief Minister Portrait Term in office Legislature Cabinet Constituency
Start End Tenure
1 Dormani Poudel
11 February 2018 18 August 2021 3 years, 188 days 1st Provincial Assembly Poudel, 2018 Makwanpur 1(B)
2 Astalaxmi Shakya
18 August 2021 27 October 2021 70 days Shakya, 2021 Kathmandu 8(B)

Gandaki Province Edit

No. Chief Minister Portrait Term in office Legislature Cabinet Constituency
Start End Tenure
1 Prithivi Subba Gurung
16 February 2018 9 May 2021 3 years, 82 days 1st Provincial Assembly Gurung, 2018 Lamjung 1(B)
12 May 2021 12 June 2021 31 days
2 Khagaraj Adhikari
9 January 2023 Incumbent 261 days 2nd Provincial Assembly Adhikari, 2023 Kaski 1 (A)

Lumbini Province Edit

No. Chief Minister Portrait Term in office Legislature Cabinet Constituency
Start End Tenure
1 Shankar Pokharel
15 February 2018 2 May 2021 3 years, 76 days 1st Provincial Assembly Pokharel, 2018 Dang 2(A)
2 May 2021 11 August 2021 101 days
2 Leela Giri
12 January 2023 Incumbent 258 days 2nd Provincial Assembly Giri, 2023 Rupandehi 2 (A)

Sudurpashchim Province Edit

No. Chief Minister Portrait Term in office Legislature Cabinet Constituency
Start End Tenure
1 Rajendra Singh Rawal 12 January 2023[86] Incumbent 258 days 2nd Provincial Assembly Rawal, 2023 List MP

Sister organizations Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

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