Oli, Prachanda Lock Horns Over Presidential Candidate
Differences between the two major parties—the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre)—in Nepal’s ruling coalition resurfaced at a meeting of the High-level Political Mechanism (HLPC) on Friday. At the heart of the disagreement is UML chair KP Sharma Oli’s insistence that he will not accept a consensus candidate for President. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda wants a consensus candidate for the presidential election slated for March 9. Sources privy to the meeting said Oli stressed the need for implementing the December 25 agreement, according to which the posts of the President and the Speaker would go to the UML while the prime minister’s chair went to the Maoist Centre, reports The Kathmandu Post. Three members of the seven-party ruling coalition—the Janata Samajbadi Party, the Nagarik Unmukti Party and the Janamat Party—skipped the meeting, hinting at a brewing crisis in the ruling coalition.