Monday, February 6, 2023

CPN-Maoist Centre chief expresses desire to become Nepal’s next PM

Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, the chairman of the CPN-Maoist Centre, has met Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and reportedly expressed his desire to become the country’s new premier, as the two leaders discussed how to take the ruling coalition forward and form the next government.
The meeting on Saturday assumes significance as President Bidya Devi Bhandari is considering calling the political parties to put forward their claims to form the next government. No party in the 275-member House of Representatives has 138 seats required to form the new government.
The ruling alliance which together has numbers close to the majority mark in the House is still undecided on who leads the new Cabinet.
The Nepali Congress (NC) led by Deuba has emerged as the single largest party in the November election with 89 seats. The other partners of the ruling alliance have together secured 47 seats – CPN-Maoist Centre (32), CPN-Unified Socialist (10), Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (4), and Rashtriya Janamorcha (1).
The newly-formed Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) has also offered to extend support to the five-party alliance headed by the Nepali Congress in government formation.
The RSP has emerged as the fourth-largest party in the elections held on November 20, securing 20 seats. Nepali Congress spokesperson Prakash Sharan Mahat said Prachanda in his meeting with Prime Minister Prachanda has formally sought the support of the Nepali Congress to become prime minister in the first half of the five-year term, the newspaper said.
While forging an electoral alliance ahead of the November 20 polls, Deuba and Prachanda had reportedly struck a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ on leading the government by turns.
Mahat said while Prachanda’s proposal was to be expected, it would be more natural for Nepali Congress, as the largest party to emerge from the elections, to lead the government.
Asked if Prachanda sought Deuba’s support to become the new prime minister, CPN-MC leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said he asked Deuba how he wanted to proceed, to which he replied all coalition partners should decide within their respective outfits, the Himalayan Times newspaper reported.
Deuba, who is the front-runner to become the prime minister for the sixth time, has not given any definite answer to Prachanda, a source close to the prime minister told The Kathmandu Post newspaper.
The ruling coalition, which has decided to remain intact to form the next government, has multiple prime ministerial aspirants, especially from the Nepali Congress.
The Congress is struggling to elect its parliamentary party leader as per the party statute.
Despite his party winning fewer seats this time, Prachanda was encouraged to stake his claim to the leadership of a new coalition after the CPN-UML led by former premier K P Sharma Oli started luring him with a promise of support for his prime ministerial bid, sources told The Kathmandu Post.
The CPN-UML and its allies have 104 seats in the House.
A few days back, Prachanda had said that his party has the key to forming the next government.

SourcePTI
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