Congress picks Koirala but parties still at odds


Two weeks after President Ram Baran Yadav called on parties to form a national unity government, the Nepali Congress, on Wednesday, unanimously named party president Sushil Koirala as its prime ministerial candidate. Koirala, a bachelor, has not assumed any top public posts in his six decade long career since the restoration of democracy in the country.

The NC is claming leadership of the unity government to hold the second Constituent Assembly elections in a “free and fair” manner, stating that other parties had already agreed to from an election government under it. The party, which has been plagued by an intra-party rift since its 12th general convention, demonstrated its cohesiveness by selecting the candidate for PM unanimously.

In the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting, party Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel proposed Koirala’s name as the party’s candidate and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba seconded the proposal. Both Poudel and Deuba had earlier been projected as possible prime ministerial candidates.

Party leaders said that both Poudel and Deuba did not claim the post as the party president himself expressed a willingness to lead the government. The ruling UCPN (Maoist) and opposition parties have been urging the NC to come up with a prime ministerial candidate.

With the party’s decision to nominate Koirala as its candidate, the Deuba faction believes that Koirala will keep the party united by addressing their demands.

According to a leader, there was an understanding within the party while deciding on the prime ministerial candidate. As per the deal, if Koirala becomes prime minister, Poudel will be handed over the responsibility of acting president and Deuba will lead the government that will be formed after the promulgation of the new constitution.

Leaders of the Deuba camp said they should get key roles in the party if Koirala assumes the PM post.

Posted on: 2012-12-06 08:35