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Dahal again floats his desire to become executive president

By Our Reporter
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who was nicknamed by the cadres of the Nepali Congress and the UML during the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections as Bhitte Rastrapati (wall president), has again exhibited his deep desire to become the executive president after he merged his party with the UML.
Although his party became the largest party in the first CA polls, Dahal had to be contented with the tag of the ‘Bhitte Rastrapati’. He became prime minister but had quit the post in nine months following a row with Rookmangud Katwal, then chief of the Nepal Army. When he was compelled to quit the post of the prime minister over a dispute with NA chief, he might have realised further the importance of the post of the commander in chief of the Nepal Army, which only the president can hold.
During the constitution drafting process, he lobbied for the provision of the executive president but in vain. Instead, he became prime minister for the second time in 2016 in the backing of India and support of NC also for only nine months.
Now when he is one of the chairmen of the largest communist party—CPN—he again revealed his desire for the executive president while addressing a meeting in Pokhara.
By now the idea has already become a common agenda of the ruling parties — the CPN and the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal — which are of the view that just two-thirds majority will not ensure political stability although the former UML leaders, including Prime Minister K P Sharma have not spoken anything about Dahal’s new proposal. However, Upendra Yadav of FSF, which is one of the coalition partners of the present two-thirds majority government, and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai have backed his plan. But the Nepali Congress leaders have objected to the plan stating that it was design to impose dictatorial rule.
Recently, Devendra Poudel, one of the CPN leaders, said that Dahal would become executive president in next five years by incorporating the idea in the constitution through an amendment at the appropriate time.
At the time of constitution promulgation in 2015, the erstwhile CPN-Maoist Centre led by Dahal had written a note of dissent over non-inclusion of the directly-elected presidential system. Even the former CPN-UML led by Oli had advocated similar governance system of a directly-elected executive prime minister in the first Constituent Assembly but dropped it in the second CA.
The FSF-N too has long been advocating a directly-elected executive presidential system.
However, the main opposition Nepali Congress has rejected the idea of the directly-elected executive head, stating that it would lead to the government becoming totalitarian. They also said the ruling party did not have the mandate to amend the constitution to incorporate such a provision.
No matter what NC leaders said, Dahal will try his best to amend the constitution and insert the provision of directly-elected president. However, fate of his desire hinges on Prime Minister K. P. Oli and Madhav Kumar Nepal. If the two leaders reject the idea, Dahal’s desire will remain unfulfilled during this birth. A few former UML leaders have already termed the idea as inappropriate.

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