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Ethnic Indian may be Nepal's next PM

Madhav Kumar Nepal, the top CPN-UML leader with ethnic Indian origin, has emerged as the party choice to form a coalition as the president on Sunday asked the Parliament to chose a prime minister to end the political deadlock in the country. According to a senior leader, most of the central committee members "are for proposing Nepal as the prime ministerial candidate".

world Updated: May 11, 2009 01:50 IST

Madhav Kumar Nepal, the top CPN-UML leader with ethnic Indian origin, has emerged as the party choice to form a coalition as the president on Sunday asked the Parliament to chose a prime minister to end the political deadlock in the country.

A central committee meeting of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), the third largest party in the Constituent Assembly, has decided to form a consensus government.

The 56-year-old veteran communist leader of ethnic Indian origin, whose forefathers came from India, could become Nepal's next prime minister, taking over from Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.

According to a senior leader, most of the central committee members "are for proposing Nepal as the prime ministerial candidate".

"There is hardly any dispute within the party on his candidacy," he underlined.

"His name is almost final. But, in view of several past instances of other parties betraying the party, many comrades suggested not to publicize the name immediately," the leader was quoted as saying by myrepublica online.

Several leaders suggested the party not to publicise the candidate´s name before ascertaining that the party will get chance to lead the government, the report said.

The veteran politician, who was the undisputed leader of the communist party for 15 years, received a setback in the April constituent assembly polls when he lost from both his constituencies including one from the Terai plains bordering India. Subsequently, he quit as the chief of the CPN-UML.

His name was also proposed for the country's first president last year, but his nomination was fiercely opposed by the Maoists.

CPN-UML today urged major parties to support their initiative for a national government. UML has requested Unified CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, Madhesi People´s Rights Forum and Terai Madhes Democratic Party and others to support and join a UML-led coalition.

The party formed a 10-member panel led by party chairman Jhala Nath Khanal to hold talks with other parties and prepare government´s common minimum programmes, plans and code of conduct of the new coalition government.

"The committee will talk to other parties and decide what to agree and disagree with them," said CPN-UML secretary Shankar Pokharel.

In a bid to end the political deadlock in Nepal, the President President Ram Baran Yadav today threw the ball in the constituent assembly's court, directing it to choose a prime minister who will form the next government, as the parties failed to meet a saturday deadline for forging a consensus coalition.

Nepal plunged into a constitutional crisis when Maoist leader Prachanda resigned as premier after his decision to sack army chief Rukmangad Katawal was blocked by the President.