Prachanda resigns as Nepal PM: Local media notes mountain of challenges facing Sher Bahadur Deuba

Nepal prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Wednesday resigned after a brief stint of nine months. Prachanda, 62, announced his resignation while addressing the nation in a live telecast. Sher Bahadur Deuba, the leader of the Nepali Congress, is set take over as the 40th Prime Minister of Nepal. It was his second stint as the prime minister.

Prachanda first became prime minister on 18 August, 2008, continuing in the position till 25 May, 2009, when he resigned after a political tussle with the then president Ram Baran Yadav over the appointment of army chief and the integration of former Maoist rebels into the army. His government was reduced to a minority after key ally CPN-UML withdrew its support, Outlook reported.

The resignation came as part of a deal with the Nepali Congress, the other partner in the CPN (Maoist Centre)-Nepali Congress coalition government.

Under the deal signed in July 2016 to topple the then KP Oli government, the two parties will head the government on a rotational basis till the country goes to poll before 21 January, 2018.

Accordingly, Prachanda, who became the prime minister in August 2016, would continue to hold the position for nine months, after which the Nepali Congress would head the government.

The arrangement was made in such a manner that while the local body elections would be held under the former rebel leader's leadership, the provincial and national elections will be held under Deuba's rule.

File image of Prachanda. AFP

File image of Prachanda. AFP

Millions of Nepali citizens on 14 May voted in the country's first local-level polls in two decades as the Himalayan nation took a crucial step towards cementing democracy amid political turmoil.

Local-level elections, which should be held every five years, could not be held after 1997 largely as a result of the decade-long Maoist insurgency that claimed more than 16,000 lives in Nepal.

However, unlike in the past when governments in Nepal fell due to political instability, this time around the change in the political leadership is expected to be smooth.

Nepali media has already made recommendations for the likely (to be formed) Deuba government.

The Himalayan Times in its editorial urged the Deuba government to hit the ground running to conduct the second phase of the local body elections. It also noted that Prachanda, unlike his 2009 exit, relinquished power graciously. While Prachanda during his press conference outlined the achievements of the government, the editorial praised the former rebel leader for successfully conducting the first phase of local body elections.

Kathmandu Post in its editorial urged the incoming government to hold the second phase of local elections on 14 June. The publication too appreciated Prachanda for going ahead with the election despite his government being mirred in several controversies.

The editorial added that the next nine months could be an opportunity for Deuba to reclaim his legacy in Nepal's disturbed political history. The editorial noted that as the prime minister is seen by the common man as someone with a questionable character citing his behaviour during the 2005 political crisis.

However, while the Nepali media appreciated the move to conduct elections, the Opposition is not happy with the change of guard.

Prachanda had appeased leaders from Terai regions after conceding their demand for an addition of 22 new local units ahead of the second phase of elections.

Former ally CPN-UML claimed that the sudden resignation of the prime minister has created confusion in the country instead of resolving key complications ahead of the key elections, Myrepublica.com reported.

 

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: May 25, 2017 12:44 PM

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