Updated: August 3, 2016 7:38:21 pm
Nepal Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” is all set to become the Prime Minister for the second time as he filed his nomination on Tuesday after receiving crucial backing from the agitating Madhesis by signing a three-point pact.
The 61-year-old CPN-Maoist Centre president’s candidacy was proposed by Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba, which was seconded by senior Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara, ahead of Wednesday’s election that could bring political stability to the country.
Nepali Congress and CPN Maoist Centre signed a three- point agreement with the Madhesi Front to secure support from the Madhesi parties for their bid to form a new government led by Prachanda, the only official candidate for the race.
Madhesi parties, which have the combined strength of 42 in the 595-member Parliament, have also hinted that they would join the government led by Prachanda. Before filing his nomination paper for the Prime Minister’s election, Maoist chief Prachanda and NC chief Deuba signed the agreement with the Madhesis, mostly of Indian- origin, which assured the Madhesi communities of addressing their demands through political understanding and amendment to the Constitution.
Although the former premier with anti-India stance is only one candidate, there will be voting for and against Prachanda and it is likely that CPN-UML and its alliance will vote against him.
The Prime Minister’s post has remained vacant since last week after CPN-UML chairman K P Sharma Oli tendered his resignation following the Maoist’s withdrawal of support to the coalition government.
Despite media reports that a senior leader of CPN-UML, probably, former Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam, would contest against Prachanda, the party took a last-minute decision not to contest the election, clearing a way for the Maoist chief to become the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal.
He has earlier served as Nepal’s Prime Minister from 2008 to 2009. As the agitating United Madhesi Front has decided to vote in favour of Prachanda, he is expected to get at least 360 votes, though only 298 votes are required for winning the election.
Three Madhesi leaders – Upendra Yadav of Social Forum- Nepal, Sarvendra Nath Shukla of Tarai Madhesh Democratic Party and Laxman Lal Karna of Sadbhawana Party – have supported Prachanda’s candidacy.
As per the agreement, the government-in-waiting would implement the Madhesi Front’s demands that include acknowledging those killed during the Madhes agitation as martyrs and providing free treatment to the injured besides amending the Constitution to redraw provincial boundary, while the Madhesi parties would support the new government.
The crucial development comes a day after Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari gave a fresh call to all political parties to form a majority government when the deadline given to them for forging consensus expired without yielding any results.
It is learnt that the Parliament has started preparation for beginning the procedure of electing the premier on Wednesday. Speaker Onsari Gharti has called a meeting of the Parliament for 11 am to elect the new Prime Minister after embattled premier Oli resigned on July 24, triggering a fresh political turmoil in Nepal.
Prachanda is likely to announce a small cabinet comprising members from Maoist party, Nepali Congress, CPN-United and Rastriya Prajatantra Party on Thursday after being declared as the Prime Minister.
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