Oli wants to reelect Bidya Devi Bhandari as President: Maoist negotiator

File: President Bidya Devi Bhandari with top leaders of major political parties

Kathmandu, January 1

A Maoist negotiator involved in talks between the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre on how to manage leaders’ responsibilities in a unified communist party reveals that UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli wants to reelect Bidya Devi Bhandari as the President.

Devendra Paudel says the UML, however, is not unequivocal about the presidential candidate as the party’s senior leader, Jhala Nath Khanal, has also expressed his desire for the to post.

While Bhandari herself wants to get reelected, the party’s another senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal is not interested in the ceremonial position, according to Paudel. Nepal has expressed his desire to continue an executive role for next few years.

Paudel claims Oli’s wish will not be fulfilled as repeating the same person at the top post will not give a sense of change to people.

The negotiator hints that the UML has proposed keeping Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the co-chair of unified party, but says it will not be accepted.

“Prachandaji’s leadership has a certain role. Therefore, offering him the position of co-chairman will be an psychological insult if Oli becomes the prime minister,” he says, “We are ready to let the UML choose between the PM and the chairman, then we will take what they do not choose. It will be respectful.”

He says positions of president and speaker should also be divided accordingly. If the UML takes the position of president, the position of speaker should be given to the Maoists, he says. Therefore, the Maoist Centre has not floated any name for the presidential position for discussion, Paudel says.

Earlier, media had reported that the party wants its leader Ram Bahadur Thapa to become the president.

Paudel says despite such challenges, the party unification should take place at the earliest and negotiators have been working for that seriously.

Published on January 1st, Monday, 2018 12:16 PM

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