NC sets preconditions for supporting Prachanda for Nepal PM

Kathmandu: Amid the political standoff in Nepal, the second largest party Nepali Congress has agreed to support Maoist supremo Prachanda for the post of premier provided the former rebels return seized properties, disband its paramilitary youth wing and integrate their combatants.

Ramchandra Poudyal, the sole candidate who is adamant over not quitting the prime ministerial race, has set four preconditions for lending support to Prachanda to become the Prime Minister for the second time.

65-year-old Poudyal said his party will support Prachanda for the top post if the Maoists return the seized property, disband its paramilitary youth organization, the Young Communist League (YCL), integrate their combatants with the security forces and hand over their arms to the government.

"Property of many people which were captured by the Maoists during the decade-long insurgency are still under the Maoists control," Poudyal said.

"We want the former rebels to return all the seized property to their rightful owners and end the violence and terror unleashed by the YCL," he underlined.

Prachanda, the 55-year-old former Prime Minister, withdrew from the race for the top post following a deal with the CPN-UML on September 17 after he failed to get majority support in Parliament seven times in a row.

Four months after the 22-party coalition led by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed under intense pressure from the Maoists, the parliament has been unable to elect a new leader despite holding 15 rounds of poll.

The Maoists, CPN-UML and the Madhesi alliance have been staying away from the election process as they want the formation of a national government.

It has stalled the country's peace process and delayed the annual budget, bringing the nation on the brink of financial crisis.

As per Nepal's interim Constitution, the election process should continue till a new leader is elected in the parliament through a simple majority of 301 vote.

The Maoists led by Prachanda won the 2008 elections and formed a government, but it later collapsed after a dispute with President Ram Baran Yadav over their attempt to replace the then Army chief Rukmangad Katwal.