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Nepal parties undecided who to lead the next govt

Publication Date : 21-09-2012

 

A day before the four major political forces enter into talks to choose a party that will lead the election government, four main political parties of Nepal are sharply divided on the prime ministerial candidate.

The parties – Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal –Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) – on Wednesday decided to go for fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.

The differences over the leadership of a new government could further delay the finalisation of the new political roadmap.

The NC has said it will officially register its claim to the government today on "at least three bases." First, an inter-party agreement signed on May 3 commits to hand over the leadership of the election government to the NC. Second, the party has not led a single government after the CA elections of April 2008, while the UCPN (Maoist) and the UML have led two each. Third, most of the elections including the first parliamentary elections of 1959 to the most recent 2008 CA polls were conducted under the party's leadership and that it has a proven track record of conducting fair elections.

“We are stressing that we should lead the next government because our party has a decent track record in successfully conducting elections,” said NC leader Minendra Rijal.

“Both the CPN-UML (1994) and the UCPN (Maoists) were elected the largest parties in elections conducted by the NC-led government,” the NC leader added.

Maoist leaders, however, reject NC's claim outright and argue that the May 3 deal has become a dead rubber after the failure of the CA to promulgate a new constitution.

"The leadership handover to the NC is not relevant after the CA's demise in May 27," UCPN (Maoist) Spokesperson Agni Sapkota said.
“We had agreed to hand over the leadership to the Congress if there was a deal on the fundamentals of the new constitution and if promulgation of the constitution was guaranteed.

The Maoists say that as the largest party in the dissolved assembly, they can claim the leadership of the next government.

Parties will discuss the leadership in a “package” with other issues like the amendment of the Interim Constitution and removal of constitutional hurdles for conducting fresh polls.

The UML and the Morcha have said their decision to stake claim to the government leadership will depend on how power sharing negotiations between the Maoists and the NC unfold.

UML leader Bhim Rawal said an election government should be formed on the basis of political consensus.

Nepal Sabhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato said the Madhesi Morcha can forward its candidate if other political parties request it to do so. In case parties fail to reach a compromise, a 'neutral' civil society personality can be entrusted with the responsibility of leading the government, according to him.

But Maoist Spokesperson Sapkota said allowing a 'non-party candidate' to lead the government will be the last option. “Appointing such a person as the PM will send across a message that politicians are inefficient. We have not started a debate on the option,” he said.

Party leaders will consider reducing the size of the CA from the earlier 601. Ahead of the CA dissolution, they had agreed that the new constitution will have the provision of a bicameral legislature with 376 members in total.

 

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