Nepali Congress begins process to find successor to GP Koirala

Last Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 20:23

Kathmandu: Nepali Congress, the second
largest party in parliament, on Thursday set in motion a key process
to find a successor to late party president G P Koirala, who
passed away in March.

Nepali Congress Acting president Shushil Koirala and
former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba are the main
contenders for the post of party president during the 12th
general convention to be held in the capital on September 17.
District conventions were organised in 54 districts
today across the country to prepare for the general convention
next month. Local conventions have already been held in 17
districts while elections in four districts have been
postponed due to internal disputes, party sources said.

The Nepali Congress has been struggling to find a
successor to former Prime Minister Koirala, who died on March
20 aged 85. The veteran politician was not only one of the
founder of the party but dominated the party for over two
decades.

He spent the final months of his life engaged in a
desperate effort to ensure lasting peace in Nepal after a
bloody 10-year civil war between Maoist rebels and the state.

As prime minister in 2006, he staked his reputation
on siding with the Maoist guerrillas against the country`s
autocratic king, leading to the end of the insurgency and the
abolition of the monarchy two years later.
There is growing uncertainty in the country after the
parliament for the fourth time in just over a month failed to
elect a new premier. Maoist chief Prachanda and his Nepali
Congress rival Ram Chandra Poudyal were unable to garner a
simple majority in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

55-year-old Prachanda, a former Prime Minister,
managed to bag only 213 votes while 99 members opposed his
candidature in the poll, more than five weeks after incumbent
Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned following intense Maoist pressure.

Poudyal, 65, also failed to touch the magic figure of
301, receiving just 122 votes in favour and 245 against,
forcing Speaker Subhash Nemwang to announce August 18 as the
date for holding next round of election.

The country has been in political limbo since the
resignation of Nepal, who is currently heading a caretaker
government.

CPN-Maoist is the single-largest party with 238 MPs,
while Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have 114 and 109 seats
respectively in the Constituent Assembly, whose two-year term
was extended by one year on May 28.

The Assembly, which functions as the country`s interim
parliament, was elected in 2008 with a mandate to complete
Nepal`s post-war peace process and draft a new Constitution,
but could not finish the task within the stipulated two-year
timeframe.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 20:23

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