Sushil Koirala set to become Nepal’s new prime minister

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Sushil Koirala--621x414Kathmandu, February. 10 – Veteran politician Sushil Koirala is set to become Nepal’s new prime minister Monday, following a political breakthrough that ended months of deadlock and raised hopes for stability in the war-torn nation.

Koirala, 75, is expected to win a vote in the constituent assembly or parliament after a rival party pledged its backing as part of a power-sharing agreement secured with his Nepali Congress party at the weekend.

Koirala’s election is expected to pave the way for the formation of a new coalition government charged with ending a prolonged political crisis that has crippled Nepal’s economy.

“Koirala has filed his candidacy for the post of prime minister. He is the sole candidate,” parliament secretariat spokesman Mukunda Sharma said. “The voting would take place on Monday at 11.00am local time (0515 GMT),” Sharma said late Sunday.
Following negotiations at the weekend, Koirala’s party—which topped the polls last November—secured the backing of the Unified Marxist-Leninist party (UML), which came second.

“The details of the deal will be out soon,” UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal said on Sunday in the capital.
“We are also discussing the new government’s policy and programme,” Khanal said.

The Nepali Congress won 196 seats and the UML secured 175 in the 601-seat assembly. The Maoists, who traded their guns for politics after signing a pact to end the civil war in 2006, were relegated to a humiliating third place at the polls with just 80 seats.
If he wins on Monday, Koirala, a silver-haired bachelor, would become the fourth member of his extended family to become prime minister in Nepal’s history.

A devoted member of the Nepali Congress party of which he is currently president, Koirala once spent three years in an Indian prison for his involvement in the hijacking of a plane.

(Copyright @ (AFP) /RSS)