Ex-communist rebel leader pledges stable government in Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s governing alliance is pledging to create a stable government that will be able to complete a full five-year term in the Himalayan nation that has had 13 different governments in the past 16 years.
The alliance of four political parties is contesting Nov. 20 parliamentary elections together in hopes of retaining power.
“Our commitment is that the next government will complete the full five-year term and provide the country with stability because we will keep our partnership intact,” Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the leader of the Maoist communist party Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a key member of the alliance, said in an interview Wednesday.
Political stability is much needed in the country, where frequent changes in government and squabbles among parties have been blamed for delays in writing the constitution and slow economic development.
No government since the abolition of the centuries-old monarchy in 2008 has completed a full term.
Dahal said the parties in the governing alliance have pledged to remain together for parliament’s full five-year term after the election, which he claimed they will comfortably win against a bigger communist party and its partners.
The alliance’s biggest competition is the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) headed by Dahal’s one-time partner, Khadga Prasad Oli.
Dahal and Oli had merged their groups into a big communist party which contested the 2017 parliamentary election and won a majority of seats, leading to hopes of a stable government.
Oli then became prime minister, but midway through the five-year term he refused to comply with an agreement that Dahal would become leader for the remaining period. Dahal, unhappy with Oli, split from the party, ending the government’s tenure.
Dahal said there would be no breakup in the present governing partnership. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Nepali Congress party is the biggest in the group and is the country’s oldest party.
Although the alliance has agreed to contest the election together, they have not decided who will become prime minister if it wins, he said.
Dahal, also known as Prachanda, or the “fierce one,” led a violent Maoist communist insurgency from 1996 to 2006. More than 17,000 people were killed and the status of many others remains unknown.
The Maoists gave up their armed revolt and joined a U.N.-assisted peace process in 2006 and entered mainstream politics. Dahal’s party secured the highest number of parliamentary seats in 2008 and he became prime minister, but he quit a year later over differences with the president.
Dahal said his party is contesting the election as part of an alliance this year but will work to become the largest before the next polls.
“We will become the No. 1 party after five years,” he said.
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