Indian-origin leader may be new Nepal PM
KATHMANDU: As Nepal's warring parties failed to come up with a consensus government by Saturday, embattled President Ram Bran Yadav on Sunday took recourse to the other constitutional option and asked interim parliament to elect a new prime minister on the basis of simple majority.
However, it is easier said than done with the Maoists keeping up their obstruction of the house. The former guerrillas, who began disrupting interim parliament following the resignation of their chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda as PM last week, stormed the rostrum even on Sunday, forcing the chairman to put off the session till Tuesday.
Now with the house in uproar, it would be impossible to hold a prime ministerial election if the Maoists stay on the warpath. The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), that has staked claim on the new government, announced the formation of a nine-member panel to start negotiating with the major parties.
UML chief Jhalanath Khanal, who had been speculated to be the next PM, on Sunday however proposed veteran party leader and former home minister Madhav Kumar Nepal for the post. 56-year-old Nepal had quit as party chief last year after being defeated in the constituent assembly election from both his constituencies.
While the UML held talks with the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress (NC), the Maoists have vowed to continue obstructing the house as well as keep up public protests till their arch enemy, army chief Gen Rookmangud Katawal, is sacked. The Maoist government fell last week trying to fire Katawal, who was reinstated by the president in his role as the custodian of the constitution.
With uncertainty and turmoil gripping the nation for almost a week now, the Maoists suffered a second blow on Sunday when the Supreme Court refused to sack eight more army generals. Last month, the former rebels tried to retire eight brigadier-generals, ignoring the recommendation by the army that their terms be extended.
But the generals went to court to fight the move and the court asked for a stay till it resolved the row. Though the Maoist government tried to have the stay vacated, a two-judge bench on Sunday rejected the request.