Maoist Center chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal (C) and NC chief Sher Bahadur Deuba shake hands at parliament secretariat, Tuesday. Dipesh Shrestha/Republica
-Dahal only candidate in the race
-UML not to contest, to vote against Dahal
-First PM to be repeated after republic
-First Communist PM to head govt twice
-Likely to get over 360 votes from 16 political parties
KATHMANDU, Aug 3: As his election as new prime minister is almost certain with the backing of 16 political parties including the largest party Nepali Congress and an independent lawmaker in parliament, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is going to head the government for a second time.
Dahal stepped down as prime minister in May 2009 after serving for nine months following a bitter dispute with the president over his sacking of the army chief.
He is likely to step down as Prime Minister after nine months yet again in his second tenure in coming May as per the understanding reportedly reached with the NC.
Leaders have publicly announced that the Maoist leaders have agreed to hand over the leadership to NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba for next prime minister after nine months, after holding local elections during Dahal's tenure.
After his election from parliament on Wednesday, Dahal will not only become the leader to head the government twice since the country became a republic, he will also become the only communist to be elected prime minister twice. The other five communist prime ministers have never made a comeback to Baluwatar.
Dahal became prime minister for the first time in August 2008 after his party emerged as the largest political party from the Constituent Assembly (CA) election in the same year. Eight years ago, Dahal had defeated NC leader Deuba, with a wide margin. Things have now changed drastically.
On Tuesday morning, NC President Deuba reached the parliament building to propose Dahal as new prime minister.
CPN (Maoist Center) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) Chairman Upendra Yadav, Madhesi People's Right Forum Democratic (MPRF-D) chief whip Yogendra Chaudhary, Parshuram Tamang of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), and Sarvendranath Shukla of the Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) seconded the proposal.
Similarly, Laxman Lal Karna of Sadbhawana, Jayadev Joshi of CPN (Unified), Ganga Chaudhari of Tharuhat Tarai Party Nepal and eight other lawmakers in parliament have seconded Dahal.
Maoist Center and NC leaders claimed that Dahal will secure over 360 while electing as prime minister on Wednesday. Though, the United Democratic Madhesi Front--the alliance of Madhes-based political parties- had decided to vote for Dahal on Tuesday, the alliance was undecided until Tuesday evening as an expected agreement could not be signed between the NC, Maoist Center and the Front. Madhesi leaders said the picture will be clear only on Wednesday.
Parliament is scheduled to vote for new prime minister Wednesday.
Dahal is sole candidate for prime minsiter as no other political parties floated any candidate against him. Though, the ruling CPN-UML was expected to field one of its leaders against Dahal, it later decided not to file candidacy and vote against Dahal on Tuesday.
"CPN-UML has decided to maintain its role as responsible opposition in parliament in the coming days," party spokesperson Yogesh Bhattarai said.