Pokharel elected PP leader of Province 5, other provinces awaiting party decision

Provincial assembly members of CPN-UML from Province 5 have unanimously elected standing committee member Shankar Pokharel as the parliamentary party leader on Sunday paving the way for Pokharel to become chief minister (CM).

UML and CPN (Maoist Center) had agreed to make him CM before the election. He will be declared CM of the province once he submits a letter to the provincial chief claiming that he has majority in the provincial assembly. He will have to prove his majority on the floor within 30 days of his appointment.

There is no such unanimity for selection of UML parliamentary party leader in other provinces. The party has majority in Province 1 and Province 3 which means the parliamentary party leader will be CM of these provinces. Article 168(1) of the Constitution states the Chief of State shall appoint the leader of the parliamentary party commanding a majority in the State Assembly as the Chief Minister.

But these two provinces are waiting for decision of the party’s Standing Committee. Bhim Acharya and Sher Dhan Rai are vying for the post of parliamentary party leader and eventually CM in the province.

Similarly, Ashta Laxmi Shakya and Rajendra Pandey are in race for the parliamentary party leader of UML in Province 3.

Provincial assembly members of UML from Province 3 held an informal meeting on Sunday but they have yet to take a formal decision. “We held a joint meeting along with members of CPN (Maoist Center). We got acquainted with each other. It was, however, not a formal decision,” Shakya told Setopati. “We will hold formal meeting after the Standing Committee of UML takes a decision,” she added.

Rai also said the provincial assembly members are waiting for the party’s decision. “We will move forward after the decision at the center,” Rai told Setopati over the phone from Biratnagar, the temporary capital of Province 1.

UML has yet to make formal decision about sharing of CMs with Maoist Center. But UML seems likely to get CMs for Provinces 1, 3, 4 and 5. The two parties have informally agreed to give CMs of Provinces 6 and 7 to Maoist Center despite UML securing 50 percent seats in Province 6.

Provincial chief have to convene the first meeting of the provincial assembly within 20 days of announcement of final results, according to the Constitution.



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