CPN-Maoist Centre chief 'Prachanda' says his party has key to form next govt in Nepal

By Shirish B Pradhan
    Kathmandu, Dec 11 (PTI) Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda", the chairman of Nepal's ruling coalition partner - CPN-Maoist Centre, said on Sunday that his party has the key to form the next government, as the ruling alliance leaders intensified negotiations for a power-sharing deal.
    "Our party is one of the key actors in national politics," Prachanda said while addressing an event organised here by the Press Centre Nepal, the working journalists’ association affiliated to the CPN-MC.
    Prachanda also claimed that his party had the power to command 60 seats in the 275-member House of Representatives (HoR). The CPN-MC has bagged altogether 32 seats, 18 through direct election and 14 through proportionate representation method.
    "Maoist Centre is now a key force in Nepal that even the international power cannot influence here without knowing its position," the former two-time prime minister said.
    He also claimed that the foreign powers played a role in the recently concluded parliamentary and provincial elections.
    "Different international power centres have shown their interest in Nepal's geopolitics and foreign elements have also played a role in the election,” he said, without going into details.
    Prachanda also said that the Maoist Centre has the responsibility to lead the country in the right direction.
    He also hinted at giving continuity to the existing alliance with the Nepali Congress, CPN-Unified Socialist and other smaller parties.
    "It is clear that the government would be led on a rotational basis," said Prachanda, who has time and again expressed his desire to assume leadership of the government for a last chance. "Where we stand, there we make a government," he asserted.
    The five-party ruling alliance - Nepali Congress (89), CPN-MC (32), CPN-US (10), Lokatantrik Samajwadi Party (4) and Rastriya Janamorcha (1) - has a combined strength of 136, short of 2 seats to form a majority government.
    Newly-formed Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP)on Saturday offered to extend support to the five-party alliance headed by the Nepali Congress in government formation, even as it urged coalition parties to work towards achieving a corruption-free bureaucracy and transparency in governance.
    The RSP, floated by former television personality Rabi Lamichhane, has emerged as the fourth-largest party in the the elections held on November 20, securing 20 seats.
    "We cannot remain passive, if a new government cannot be formed without our involvement," Biraj Bhakta Shrestha, a senior RSP leader, told PTI.
    "In such a situation it becomes our moral obligation to support and join the government, though our main purpose is not to attain power. We are ready to sit in the opposition benches if our support is not required in government formation," he said.
    Meanwhile, the Election Commission has given political parties two more days to make corrections in the list of HoR members to be picked up through proportional representation method.
    After the PR lists of HoR members are finalised, the final list of HoR members will be submitted to the President, who will then summon the new Parliament Session.
    The President will formally invite a party to form a government once the newly elected HoR members will take oath of office and secrecy. If no political party has a clear majority, the president will call two or more political parties to form a new government as per the constitutional provision.
    The new government will be formed within one month, said Ganesh Shah, CPN-MC secretary.
    He said that his party has two options, either to lead the government in the beginning or to support other members of the coalition for leading the government and wait for its turn to lead the government as there is a tacit understanding to lead the government on rotational basis.
    As opposition CPN- UML and its allies have just 104 seats in the House, it will not be easy to form the government under its leadership, points out political observers. PTI SBP ZH

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)