UML fields Oli for PM, Dahal backs Oli – Republica

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Two days after President Ram Baran Yadav wrote to the parliament secretariat to initiate procedures to elect new prime minister, a standing committee meeting of the CPN-UML on Sunday proposed party chief KP Oli candidate for the post.

The party also tasked a team of its top leaders with the responsibility of garnering support from other parties for electing Oli to the top post. The team includes Chairman Oli, Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Bamdev Gautam and Bidya Bhandari.

The UML claimed the prime minister's post mainly based on a gentleman's agreement that they had reportedly reached with the Nepali Congress (NC) while backing Sushil Koirala as the prime minister in February, 2014. But, the NC hasn't taken any decision yet and leaders are divided about the leadership of the new government.

The two largest parties that maintained unflinching coalition partnership during Koirala's tenure in writing constitution and other issues, have now started to dispute over the leadership of the new government.

NC leader Ramesh Lekhak said the largest party is yet to take a decision with regard to the leadership of the new government and that the NC leadership doesn't recognize the so-called "gentlemen's understanding."

"Neither the NC's central committee nor its parliamentary party has any record of such an agreement. So there is no point in disputing about such a deal, which has no authenticity at all," said NC leader Lekhak.

Sources however said the NC leaders are divided over whether or not to give continuity to the alliance with the UML.

A group of leaders including party General Secretary Krishna Sitaula are in favor of giving continuity for the unity among major parties while some leaders including Shekhar Koirala, Arjun Narsing KC and Gagan Thapa, among others, are against it.

UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali said attempts are made to break up the unity among the three parties but that wouldn't succeed. He said UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has so far maintained firm commitment to the past agreements and that even some other parties such as RPP-N and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, among other fringe parties, have supported UML.

"So, we believe our party will succeed in securing majority in favor of our chairman'" said Gyawali.

At present, the NC has 207 seats in parliament, UML has 183, the UCPN (Maoist) 84 and the RPP-N has 25 seats.

 

"Published on Republica (Oct 4, 2015)"