Ambassador nominations in final stage

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
NC likely to get 6 or 7 positions, Maoist Centre 4, RPP 2. One post could be offered to a junior coalition partner

Feb 4, 2017-The ruling Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) have almost finalised the ambassadorial nominations for 13 diplomatic missions abroad, with an aim to make an announcement in the upcoming Cabinet meeting.

Prativa Rana, the mother-in-law of Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, is tipped to be nominated the ambassador to Japan. The Rastriya Prajatantra Party is learned to have chosen her. Niranjan Thapa, who was recommended on the RPP quota by the KP Sharma Oli-led Cabinet for Myanmar last year, will get continuation, according to sources familiar with the developments.

The ruling NC has agreed to take six or seven envoy positions but there are still many aspirants from the party. Four posts will be given to the CPN (Maoist Centre) and two to the RPP. If the NC is okay with six posts, one would be offered to a junior coalition partner.

The NC has authorised Deuba to decide the candidates. Divyamani Rajbhandari, Bishwamber Pyakurel, Yagya Adhikari, Dinesh Bhattarai, Jagadish Chandra Pokhrel, Bhim Udas and Krishna Gyawali are the probable candidates. Rajbhandari is a businessperson while Pyakurel is a noted economist. Adhikari is a professor of political science and Bhattarai a former ambassador. Pokhrel is a former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission while Udas is an NRN activist. Gyawali is a retired secretary.

Senior party leaders are also trying to include one Madhesi candidate, said the sources. Their assignments would be decided in agreement between Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and NC President Deuba.

Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat said that the recommendations would be made soon. The Maoist Centre is learnt to be repeating the recommendations made by the Oli Cabinet in April last year.

Under the Maoist quota, former parliamentarian Lucky Sherpa, Dalit leader and activist Padam Sundas, Professor Mahendra Singh and chief editor of The Rising Nepal Yubanath Lamsal were recommended. Sherpa was recommended for Australia, Sundas for Bahrain, and Singh for Qatar and Lamsal for Denmark.

“Our party will mostly repeat the names though I have not seen the final list,” said Rishi Raj Adhikari, foreign affairs adviser to the PM.

All the 14 political nominations made by the Oli government were quashed by the Supreme Court after the change in government in August. Ambassadors’ positions in Nepal’s embassies in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Denmark, Myanmar, Israel, Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka are vacant.

Published: 04-02-2017 08:10

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