Second-rung leaders of NC, Maoist Center oppose the idea of electing ‘non-political’ person as new president

Published On: December 17, 2022 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 17: Even as top leaders of the ruling parties including Nepali Congress(NC) and CPN-UML have begun discussions to elect a ‘non-political’ person as the new president, second rung leaders of the ruling parties have strongly objected to any such move.

CPN (Maoist Center) General Secretary Dev Prasad Gurung has said that it is beyond imagination to think of choosing a president without having a political background. He said that electing a president without a political background would give a message of surrendering the national interests to the foreigners as foreign interference in the country is rampant.

Speaking at a program organized by Sambad Dabali in Kathmandu on Friday, Gurung clarified that there is no alternative to the leadership of the political parties as long as the current arrangement and system remain in place.

The reports  that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had already begun consultation to elect a ‘non-political’ person as new president has sent ripples across the political circles in Nepal. Second-rung leaders within the NC and the Maoist Center are suspicious after Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba held a meeting with former Chairman of the Council of Minister and Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi a few days ago.

NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel, who is also aspiring to become the president, argued that ‘non-political’ persons should not be elected as the new president. “There is no possibility to elect a non-political person as the new president. This should not happen,” he said. “A political person within the ruling alliance will be made the president.”

Poudel also said that there is no compulsion for the parties to elect a person like Khil Raj Regmi as the new president. NC General Secretary Bishwa Prakash Sharma and senior leader Gopal Man Shrestha have also opposed the idea of electing a ‘non-political’ person as the new president.

Sources said that both the top leadership of the NC and the Maoist Center are positive about the idea of electing a ‘non-political’ person as the new president as they have agreed so far to maintain the ruling alliance intact.

The NC and the Maoist Center have already reached an informal agreement to share the post of prime minister for two and a half years each during the five-year term of the new parliament. But as the NC and the Maoists are set to take either the portfolio of the prime minister or the president as a part of the power-sharing deal, there will be a time when both the positions of prime minister and president will be held by the same party. “This is likely to invite a dangerous situation as seen in the recent past when both the prime minister and president were of the same party,” said an NC leader.

Parliament was dissolved twice by the then Prime Minister KP Oli, who is also the chairman of the CPN-UML, with a tacit support of President Bidya Devi Bhandari, who formerly belonged to the same party. Sources claimed the Maoist Center and other constituent parties in the ruling alliance have also given its nod to the proposal out of the same concern. 

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