New names spring up in govt talks

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Ruling party leader says Madhav Kumar Nepal’s candidacy of consensus PM is being discussed within a section of UML and NC

Jun 6, 2016-Efforts to replace the 10-month-old coalition government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has seen twists and turns with new candidates being explored for the top job.

Three major parties have intensified discussion in their fresh bid to find the right candidate to lead a consensus government. Argument is heating up on who could win the confidence of all the parties to lead a government that can address the crisis emanating from the Madhes-based parties not owning up the constitution. A new administration should also hold all levels of election to implement the new constitution.

Prime Minister Oli is pinning hope on winning the support of the Nepali Congress to convert his government into one of national unity. But other alternatives from within the CPN-UML are also being weighed, according to leaders privy to the developments. A ruling party leader admitted that UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal’s candidacy is being discussed within a section of the party and the NC.

According to other interlocutors, names of CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba are also being considered for the PM’s post.

“It’s hard to say who will manage to forge consensus as everyone appears interested to lead the national unity government,” said a Maoist leader. So far, only Maoist Centre Chairman Dahal has openly presented himself as PM Oli’s successor. Dahal has been saying that Oli should step down, honoring the “gentlemen’s agreement” reached between the second and third largest parties.

On May 5, following a flurry of negotiations, PM Oli and Dahal, who then chaired the CPN (Maoist), had reached a nine-point deal to save the coalition. According to leaders, the two leaders had also reached a “gentleman’s agreement” as per which Oli was to hand over the government leadership to Dahal after the tabling of budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

However, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, a senior Maoist leader in the Cabinet, on Saturday said that he was unaware of the “gentlemen’s agreement”.

Following pressure from Dahal, PM Oli is reaching out to NC leaders in his bid to consolidate power by converting his Cabinet into a consensus government. But the NC appears keener in backing Nepal. “I cannot save KP Oli government. It’s crumbling under its own weight,” NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba told reporters in Pokhara on Sunday.

Published: 06-06-2016 08:11

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