• Sunday, March 26, 2023


Nepal presidential polls: PM Prachanda sidelines coalition partner to endorse opposition candidate

Nepal prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (R) and his predecessor KP Sharma Oli. (Photo by DIPESH SHRESTHA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Nepal on Saturday (25) began the process of filing nomination papers for the March 9 presidential election that may change the power equation in the country after prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ sidelined his coalition partner and endorsed the Opposition Nepali Congress’ leader Ramchandra Poudyal for the top post.

Nomination papers can be registered at the election commission’s office from 10 am to 3 pm, according to the country’s election commission officials.

Poudyal, 78, is likely to succeed incumbent Bidya Devi Bhandari as the next president after eight political parties — Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Communist Party of Nepal)–Maoist Centre, CPN-Unified Socialist, Rastriya Janata Party, Lokatantrik Samajwadi Party, Rastriya Janamorcha, Nagarik Unmukti Party and Janamat Party — decided at a joint meeting to vote for him.

Prachanda, who is also the chairman of the CPN-Maoist Centre, has dealt a blow to CPN-UML (Unified Marxist-Leninist) chairperson K P Sharma Oli by choosing a presidential candidate from outside the ruling alliance.

The presidential election has put a serious question mark on the future of the seven-party ruling alliance.

Prachanda proposed to support the NC candidate for the new president during the meeting.

He had argued that the election of a candidate of the NC, which is the largest party in parliament, is important to forge national consensus in the country.

All parties participating in the meeting had seconded Prachanda’s proposal. As per the rule, a candidate fielding nomination for the post of president requires five parliament members to propose his/her name and five others to support the candidacy.

The total number of voters for the election of the President is 882, consisting of 332 members of the federal parliament and 550 members of the provincial assemblies of the seven provinces.

The vote weightage of a federal MP is 79 whereas that of the provincial assembly member is 48.

The meeting of the NC’s central executive committee held on Saturday at the party’s central office formally decided to nominate Poudyl as the presidential candidate, said the party’s senior leader Prakash Man Singh. With the support from eight political parties, Poudyal’s victory in the election is almost certain.

On the other hand, Oli’s CPN-UML — which is a member of the ruling alliance, has decided to field former Parliament Speaker Subhash Nembang as its candidate for the top post.

Prachanda had forged an alliance with CPN-UML to form the government in November.

His party, which contested the November 20 parliamentary and provincial elections as a partner of the five-party alliance led by the NC, left the alliance on December 25 when the NC refused to give Dahal any of the two key posts – the president or the prime minister.

The term of office of the president shall be five years from the date of election and an individual can be elected for the post of the President only for two terms.


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