With five days remaining for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly to elect a new Prime Minister, Nepali Congress, the second largest party, has initiated talks with other parties to form the next government.
On Thursday, the NC central working committee decided to lead the next coalition government. The party however refrained from naming anyone for the PM’s post.
“The candidate would be decided on Saturday by the CWC,” party vice-president and parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel told Hindustan Times.
Poudel, 65, is the leading contender within NC for the post. Others in the fray are senior leaders Sher Bahadur Deuba and KB Gurung.
Nepal is set to elect its new PM on July 21 as parties failed to arrive at a consensus on forming a ‘national unity government’ after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned last month.
“Others vying for the post don’t enjoy much support and the party constitution stipulates the parliamentary party leader should lead the government,” said Poudel.
Since NC doesn’t enjoy majority in CA, the party is attempting to garner support from other parties.
Nepali Congress is expecting support from Communist Party of Nepal (UML), the third largest party. But CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal’s attempts to bag the PM’s post could pose problems.
Khanal is speculated to have reached an understanding with Maoists that he would lead the next government with their support.
“If CPN-UML leads the next government with Maoist support, the peace process and constitution writing would suffer,” said Poudel.
The NC leadership is also engaged in talks with the Maoists, the biggest party in CA as well as other Madhes-based parties.
Since the 2008 election after the civil war, Nepal has witnessed two coalition governments—one led by Maoists and the other by CPN (UML).
None of the 25 parties represented in CA enjoys majority. Maoists have 237 members in the 601-member CA, Congress has 113 and CPN (UML) has 110. A simple majority is needed to elect the PM.