The main opposition CPN (UML) has presented its chair KP Oli as a candidate for the next Prime Minister.
A meeting of the UML on Sunday formed a panel to hold talks with other political parties and forge consensus on Oli’s name. The committee headed by Oli himself has top leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhal Nath Khanal, Bam Dev Gautam and Bidya Bhandari as its members.
The incumbent Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has not resigned so far, but President Ram Baran Yadav has already asked political parties to elect the next Prime Minister within a week.
At the first post-constitution session of the Parliament on Friday, Koirala had said: “In accordance with a constitutional provision and my own commitment that I would step down after the promulgation of the constitution, I will now request the President to initiate the process to form the next government.”
That night, Koirala reached Shital Niwas and asked President Yadav to initiate the process for the next government.
As per a provision in the recently-promulgated constitution, a new Prime Minister must be elected with the consent of all political parties in the first week of the post-constitution parliamentary session. If all-party consensus cannot be forged, a new process for formation of the majority government will start.
UML has claimed that it had a gentlemen’s agreement with Koirala’s party – the NC – early last year that Oli would be the head of the first post-constitution council of ministers. UML has also claimed that it lent support to Koirala’s government because of that same deal.
But NC leaders are now denying any agreement with UML, and the UCPN (M) – the third largest party in the parliament – has also said that other leaders than Oli are also in the race to become the next Prime Minister. Koirala is reportedly keen to lead the new government, and senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba is also eyeing the post.
But UML has said that it will not be part of the next coalition government if other parties do not agree on Oli’s name.