POLITICS The New PM

Baburam Bhattarai and Sher Bahadur Deuba emerge as the top contenders for the top job to lead the Nepal into what looks like the most difficult period in its history<br>A CORRESPONDENT

Aug. 22, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 05 No.-05 Aug. 19-2011 (Bhadra 02,2068)<br>

Fourth prime minister in less than four years. That was all Jhalanath Khanal could boast of at the end of six-month tenure.


The race is on – for his successor. By Tuesday, there were two clear runners -- Baburam Bhattarai and Sher Bahadur Deuba.


The Maoists have formally put forward Bhattarai as their candidate to fill the vacancy at the Singh Durbar central secretariat.


The Nepali Congress has also virtually made up its mind in bowing to Deuba’s pressure at the cost of the parliamentary party leader, Ram Chandra Poudel to challenge the Maoists’ claim to form the next government.


Both claim to lead a consensus government that despite a never-ending rhetoric could not become a reality after the elections of the constituent assembly.


There is no indication yet if either of the two will be able to pull together what has apparently become an impossible coalition.


With the extended constitution-deadline barely two weeks away, the first thing the new government will have to do is to further extend the CA’s term.

“Concrete progress” in disarming the Maoists is a key to that end, as it constitutes a major part of the peace process.


Maoist chief Prachanda has suggested “an early breakthrough,” to make way for a Maoist-led government.


Once bitten twice shy, other parties are not fully convinced. Especially the Nepali Congress.


Given such mistrust, a lot will depend on what the other parties specially the UML and the Madhesi front will decide and whom they will throw their weight behind.


President Ram Baran Yadav has given a week’s time to the political parties to forge a consensus and form the new government.


There is no clear indication yet if the parties will be able to meet the  deadline that expires early next week.


Like the last time, the deadline might be extended by a few days.


But as  strong foundations of a consensus government has not emerged yet, a direct contest between Baburam and Deuba look more likely.

Whoever wins the race will have a tough job ahead in steering the country’s turbulent political journey to a safe course.


As things stand now, a crash-landing looks more likely than a safe-landing irrespective of who becomes the next executive chief at the most  critical political  transition of Nepal.

Whoever wins the race will have a tough job ahead in steering the country’s turbulent political journey to a safe course.


As things stand now, a crash-landing looks more likely than a safe-landing irrespective of who becomes the next executive chief at the most  critical political  transition of Nepal.

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