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Nepal the Political Game of Thrones II Commences


Structural deficits in the Constitution of Nepal and lack of overwhelming support to parties of varied ideological hues mainly Left and Left of Centre implies that there is premium on the leadership to ensure stability in governance. This has been found wanting in the past one and a half decades thus resulting in prime minister’s lasting for months. This is true now of the ruling coalition led by the CPN Maoist Centre – the third largest party in the House of Representatives.


What was expected since the time Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal openly indicated that the CPN Maoist Centre will support the candidate of Nepali Congress for the Presidency, it was a matter of when and not if the fragile coalition led by him including the second largest party in the House of Representatives – CPN UML will collapse.


Presidential Elections


The Election Commission (EC) has published the voter list for the presidential election for March 9. There will be 881 voting members in the final list published by the EC. It includes the names of 331 members of the federal parliament and 550 members of the provincial assemblies.


As four parties (Maoist Centre, Janata Samajbadi Party, Janamat Party, Nagarik Unmukti) of the seven-party ruling alliance supported Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel’s candidacy for President rejecting UML’s candidate Subas Nembang the writing was on the wall.


Of the seven-party ruling coalition government formed on December 25 comprising CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Centre), Rastriya Swatantra Party [RSP] and Rastriya Prajantra Party [RPP], Janata Samajbadi Party, Janamat Party and Nagarik Unmukti Party the RPP and RSP have already left the government but not the coalition so far.


Mr Ram Chandra Paudel is expected to be elected as the President given the numbers supporting his candidature.


CPN UML Quits


On February 27, the CPN-UML decided to quit the government after a clear signal from Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal who stopped Minister for Foreign Affairs Bimala Rai Paudyal’s for a trip to Geneva. Paudyal was to participate in the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council slated for February 27 to March 17.


The new coalition that is expected to come up will comprise of the Nepali Congress, Maoist Centre, Janata Samajbadi Party, Janamat Party, Nagarik Unmukti, the RPP is not likely to join the government led by the Nepali Congress whereas the approach of the RSP is not clear so far.


Nepali Congress senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel will be confronting CPN-UML’s of Subhash Nemwang who is a senior leader and a former speaker of the Party for the Presidency. The CPN UML filing of papers was attended to only by the party representatives and the coalition partners were not present.


Prime Ministerial Merry Go Round


Tika R Pradhan writing in the Kathmandu Post states that three parties—the Nepali Congress, the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the CPN (Unified Socialist)—are finalizing a new power-sharing deal, including the exact durations individual leaders of each party will get in the post of the prime minister.


Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal of the Maoist Centre, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, and CPN (Unified Socialist) chair Madhav Kumar Nepal are expected to share the post in the remaining duration for one and a half years each.


Thus the familiar Game of Thrones is unleashed in Nepal and it remains to be seen how far the parties and leaders will go to meet their ambitions while keeping the government administration in a limbo.


While some political analysts as Rajendra Maharajan are quoted by Pradhan as saying that political alliances in Nepal are short-lived since the parties lack a coalition culture, there are structural challenges in the Constitution and relative acceptability of the political parties by the people which seems to suggest that no single party can form a government in Nepal in the near future.


In such a scenario the political Game of Thrones is expected to continue.

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