Nepalese Parties Stake Claim to PM's Post

Shirish B Pradhan/Kathmandu
Nepalese Parties Stake Claim to PM's Post
Nepal's major political parties today staked competing claims to lead a national government as the main opposition named Sher Bahadur Deuba as its prime ministerial candidate while Maoist party endorsed Baburam Bhattarai to lead a coalition.

"Nepali Congress will field former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba as the candidate for Prime Minister," said Bimalendra Nidhi, a member of the party's powerful central committee after an informal meeting.

Nepal's two largest parties - UCPN-Maioist and Nepali Congress -- plan to hold talks with other parties to cobble together a coalition, but have claimed the right to lead a national unity government.

Nepali Congress has underlined the need to form a government under its leadership as both the Maoist party and the CPN-UML have already led a coalition after the Constituent Assembly elections held in 2008.

"We will try to form a national consensus government under Deuba's leadership, Nidhi said, underlining that there is no alternative to the national consensus government to move forward the peace process and the constitution drafting process.

The UCPN-Maoist, the largest party in Parliament, has nominated party Vice Chairman Bhattarai as its candidate to lead a coalition.

The meeting of the party office bearers held at its headquarters in Paris Danda today decided to take initiatives to form a Maoist-led national consensus government, C P Gajurel, Secretary of the UCPN-Maoist told reporters.

However, senior Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh Khatri Chhetri underlined that the Maoists cannot be entrusted with the leadership of a coalition as the task of rehabilitation and integration of the former Maoist combatants with the security forces are yet to be completed.
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