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Nepal set to elect PM; Madhav Nepal files nomination

world Updated: May 23, 2009 13:07 IST

With Nepal’s Parliament set to elect a new Prime Minister after weeks-long political impasse, veteran communist leader and CPN-UML chief Madhav Kumar Nepal, backed by a 22-party alliance, on Saturday filed his nomination for the coveted post from which Maoist supremo Prachanda resigned on May 4.

Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala proposed 56-year-old Nepal’s name for the post and CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal seconded it along with representatives from 22 different parties.

Prime Minister Prachanda had resigned early this month in the wake of serious differences with President Ram Baran Yadav on the issue of sacking of army chief Gen Rukmangad Katawal. Yadav had blocked Prachanda’s move to fire Gen Katawal.

CPN-UML leader Nepal, backed by the second largest party Nepali Congress and key Madhesi group MPRF, filed his nomination for the post of Prime Minister this morning, party sources said.

The Parliament Secretariat had asked political parties to submit the names of their Prime Ministerial candidates from 10 am to 1 pm while the election will be held at 3 pm local time if nominations are filed by more than one person.

However, so far nobody except Nepal filed the nominations. In case nobody else files nomination, Nepal will be elected unopposed as Prime Minister.

Nepal has secured support from more than 350 MPs representing 22 political parties in the 601-strong Constituent Assembly, said CPN-UML leader Shanker Pokharel. The Cabinet will be formed with the inclusion of all major political parties within a week, he told PTI.

However, the Maoists have indicated that they will not join the coalition and will sit in the opposition. Political parties are currently busy discussing the shape of the new government and are negotiating portfolios.

The Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF), which played a crucial role in cobbling up a coalition, is likely to claim important portfolios, though the party is the fourth-largest in Parliament.