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As last resort, Dahal may run for premiership


If consensus continues to elude parties for the new prime minister, “the last alternative” could be the UCPN (Maoist) fielding its Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the candidate, say party insiders.

Some influential party leaders have suggested that Dahal hold talks with the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML to explore this possibility.

As the only living signatory to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), Maoist leaders argued, Dahal could potentially be acceptable to the opposition parties considering that the Maoist chairman’s role in hammering out the 12-point understanding among the parties and, subsequently, the CPA is acknowledged by all.

The NC and UML have outright rejected turning the incumbent government into a national consensus one, while the Maoists and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha are reluctant to accept an NC-led government. In the three weeks since President Ram Baran Yadav called on parties to form a consensus government, Dahal has floated the names of at least three candidates for PM while the NC formally nominated its president Sushil Koirala.

“The opposition’s anger is mounting against PM Bhattarai, so consensus under him is not possible. Dahal’s prospects are high as there is no possibility of the ruling coalition supporting the NC’s claim,” said a Maoist leader close to Dahal.

A section of the NC is also on Dahal’s side, saying that the party should accept a Dahal-led government if it will mean that the Maoists commit to holding fresh elections by April-May.

According to sources, Dahal will not publicly claim leadership and instead wants the opposition and the Madhes-based parties to recommend him.

This will make it easier for Dahal to claim the top executive post from PM Bhattarai.  “Chairman Dahal is ready to rescue the country,” said Maoist politburo member Hemanta Prakash Oli.

 Meanwhile, a meeting of the party’s dissolved Standing Committee decided on Tuesday to adopt maximum flexibility to build consensus among parties.

The meeting entrusted Dahal, Bhattarai, Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Secretary Post Bahadur Bogati to conduct cross-party negotiations to hold elections by April.

Posted on: 2012-12-12 04:00