Race hots up as NC enters ringThe race for the head of state has heated up after the main opposition Nepali Congress decided to field either its own candidate or extend support to any likeminded one.
The race for the head of state has heated up after the main opposition Nepali Congress decided to field either its own candidate or extend support to any likeminded one.
As the number of aspirants for the post grows, names like Chairman of Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Mahantha Thakur and Khilraj Regmi, former chairman of the interim government, too are making rounds in political circles.
The Madhesi Morcha may file its candidacy for the post and its chances of alliance with the NC is high, according to political leaders.
“Once again, the role of the UCPN (Maoist) will be crucial in the presidential election,” said an NC leader.
Until Tuesday, the ruling CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) had staked claims over the post, but the Nepali Congress’s office bearers meeting on Wednesday decided to join in the race for President, Vice President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
With that, voices that the NC should be taken on board for the politics of consensus and be given the post is gaining momentum.
At the time of signing the 16-point deal, the NC, UML and UCPN (Maoist) had agreed to give the President to the Congress, prime minister to the UML and Speaker to the Maoist party. But much has changed after the PM election where the NC filed its own candidates for the PM’s race.
The meeting decided to hold consultations with those parties that supported the NC in the recent PM election in the Legislature-Parliament, said NC spokesperson Dilendra Badu.
“Irrespective of whether we have our candidates for these posts, we will definitely take part in the process,” said a senior NC leader. A team led by NC General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula held talks with UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Tuesday in a bid to reach consensus on some names.
The NC is said to have narrowed down on party President Sushil Koriala or senior party leader KB Gurung. “Koirala should be given credit for getting the new constitution promulgated and Gurung is a leading Janajati face in the party,” said the NC leader.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Management Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar has already told Prime Minister Oli to give the NC the post to continue the politics of consensus.
But having reached a separate power-sharing deal with the UCPN (Maoist), the UML has decided to file its own candidacy for the President. Four prospective names from the UML are making rounds. Former PM Jhalanath Khanal, outgoing Speaker Subas Nembang, party Vice-chairperson Bidhya Bhandari and former General Administration Minister Lal Babu Pandit are said to be in the fray.
There are suggestions that Oli has already forwarded her name for the post with the Maoist backing her nomination. But Nembang is also not lacking in support in the party. “His management skill is key for the party,” said a UML leader who is busy in the power-sharing deal. It not only depends on PM Oli, said the UML leader, the party should also take an official decision on it.
The only question confronting the UML leadership is that if Dahal and Gachhadar push their button for consensus and in favour of NC or Thakur or Regmi, new situation will emerge, said the NC leader.
Nembang, Gharti clear way for fresh appointments
Parliament endorsed resignations of Speaker Subas Nembang and Deputy Speaker Onsari Gharti on Wednesday, clearing the way for new appointments to the top parliamentary posts.
Under the new constitution, both the posts have to be filled within 20 days of the commencement of Parliament session after constitution promulgation.
The Legislature-Parliament has set Thursday 3pm deadline for parties to reach consensus on the candidates for the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker. If there is no consensus, the posts will be filled through a voting process on Friday—the voting for the Speaker will start at 3pm and Deputy Speaker at 5pm.
Chances of consensus candidates for the posts, however, appear slim, with the Nepali Congress preparing to field its candidate for the Speaker. A party’s office bearers meeting on Wednesday decided to pick a candidate for the post after consulting with the parties that supported it in the prime ministerial election.
Under the constitutional provisions, Speaker and Deputy Speaker shall belong to different political parties. The coalition partners are said to have reached an understanding to share the two posts between them, with the Maoist party taking the post of Speaker and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) Deputy Speaker.