Nepal parties demand fresh presidential election

Kathmandu, Jan 17: Nepal’s second and third largest parties in the newly elected Constituent Assembly have demanded a fresh election for the country’s president and vice-president, putting the Nepali Congress (NC), the largest party, in trouble, party leaders said Friday.

The second and third largest parties, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) respectively, have said that a new president and a vice-president should be elected according to the fresh mandate expressed in the Nov 19 Constituent Assembly elections, Xinhua reported.

But the NC, a centrist party, is against fresh election for the president. The party has already said it would negotiate with other parties about the term of the president and whether to hold a new election.

The CPN-UML has been demanding a fresh election for president soon after the Nov 19 elections.

The UCPN-M has come on the same page as the party decided to go for fresh election Thursday.

In the party’s crucial Central Committee (CC) meet Thursday, chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal floated a proposal saying there should be a fresh election for the head of state.

“There is a need to go for the election of new president and vice-president in terms of political and constitutional ground,” Dahal said in his political document presented at the CC.

The fourth largest party, Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP- N), has already said that there should be a new election for the president.

The CPN-UML and UCPN-M will raise the issue at a meeting of the Constituent Assembly which will begin next week.

The interim constitution of Nepal adopted in 2007 states that the tenure of the head of state will remain till the promulgation of a new constitution.

However, the Constituent Assembly elected in 2008 was dissolved May 27, 2012, without delivering a new constitution.

There are multiple interpretations of the constitutional provision. Some argue that the term of the president has expired in the context of a new Constituent Assembly while others say his tenure will remain till the promulgation of a new constitution.

This issue is likely to delay the formation of a new government in this Himalayan nation.