General

For PMship, Koirala to be PP leader first

- Binod Ghimire, KATHMANDU

Jan 3, 2014-

The Nepali Congress seems to have found an amicable solution to the longstanding issue of the party’s prime ministerial candidate with leaders preparing to elect President Sushil Koirala as the parliamentary party (PP) leader.

The NC statute provisions that only the parliamentary party leader is the legitimate prime ministerial candidate. Sources said Koirala has made up his mind to stake claim to the post of PP leader and take up the new responsibility in the new government to avert possible tussle between the PM hopefuls. Erstwhile PP leader Ram Chandra Poudel and Senior Leader Sher Bahadur Deuba both claim that the party should field them as the PM candidate. The party, however, remains indecisive, failing to find a win-win solution for avoiding an almost inevitable factional feud.

The party began internal deliberations on electing the PP leader and picking its PM candidate following the submission of the party’s lawmakers under the PR category.

As Koirala commands 60 percent of its 196 lawmakers in the Constituent Assembly, leaders said he will easily be elected the PP leader through voting, if not consensually.

“Koirala will be our PP leader and PM candidate,” said Parvati DC Chaudhary, a Central Working Committee member. The CWC meeting last week formally demanded leadership of the new government but failed to name its prime ministerial candidate.

Leaders close to Koirala claimed that, irrespective of what has been rumoured, the NC is in favour of a coalition government with the UML. For the last few weeks, UML leaders have grown sceptical of the NC citing that it is seeking UCPN (Maoist) support to form a majority government.

A senior leader close to Koirala ruled out the possibility of a coalition government of the NC and the UCPN (Maoist) as a majority of the CWC members are against it. “We will go for a majority government, if there is no consensus, but the NC will not form a government bypassing the UML,” said the leader.

However, to UML’s dismay, NC leaders said they are not going to accept its demand for fresh presidential election in the name of power-sharing. “The president will not be changed until the CA delivers the constitution.”

To manage internal dynamics Deuba is likely to become the acting party chief while Koirala leads the government. However, a leader close to Deuba said there has been no agreement to this effect yet. “It’s too early for such debate,” said NP Saud.

Published: 03-01-2014 08:27

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