CPN-UML will pick the four chief ministers (CM) it has got as per the sharing agreement with CPN (Maoist Center) by holding elections.
UML leaders have confirmed with Setopati that the party will hold elections for parliamentary party leader in the four provinces and the person so elected will become the CM in those provinces.
“A standing committee will set some standards and the CM will be selected by holding election for parliamentary party leader on the basis of those standards,” UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali said stressing that CMs will be selected through election also to establish system as provincial governments are being formed for the first time. “We want that the practice of the center imposing everything stops at the start of the exercise of federalism, and a system is established.”
He revealed that the standing committee will meet within a couple of days to decide on the issue. Another UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai pointed that the contender for CM in Province 5, where UML will get to lead the provincial government, has been elected parliamentary party leader, and added that the same process will be used to select CMs even in other provinces.
“We have adopted the system of holding election for parliamentary party leader in the House of Representatives (HoR), and the person winning that election becoming the prime minister,” Bhattarai pointed. “The same process will most likely be implemented even in the provinces. A standing committee meeting to be held within a couple of days will decide the procedure.”
The factions of UML Chairman KP Oli and former party chief Madhav Nepal look set to be elected CMs in two provinces each depending on the arithmetic in the respective provincial assemblies.
Former information and communications minister Sher Dhan Rai, from Oli faction, and former tourism minister Bhim Acharya, from Nepal faction, are in the race for CM of Province 1. Acharya looks likely to be the CM as Nepal faction has comfortable majority in the assembly.
Oli faction has a slim majority in Province 3 but the factions have yet to decide on the candidate for parliamentary party leader. Ashta Laxmi Shakya, from Nepal faction, is claiming for the top post while Rajendra Pandey who had switched camps only recently to join Oli faction also seems to be in the race.
The Oli camp may eventually support Shakya considering her contribution to the party and the demand to make at least one female CM despite the Nepal camp not having a majority. A leader confided that there is chance of Shakya being elected parliamentary party leader unopposed.
Both the contenders for CM in Province 4—Kiran Gurung and Prtihvi Subba Gurung—are from Oli camp. Kiran Gurung is considered closer to Bam Dev Gautam even inside the Oli faction. Prithvi Subba Gurung is likely to win the election though.
Shankar Pokharel, the main contender for CM in Province 5, is also from Oli action. Members of provincial assembly in the province had elected Pokharel as the parliamentary party leader on the day they were sworn in. Pokharel, who was elected from Dang, looks almost a certainty as CM in the province.
UML and Maoist Center on Sunday had agreed on sharing of CMs and speakers of provinces. UML will get CMs in provinces 1, 3, 4, and 5, and Maoist Center in provinces 6 and 7.
UML will have speakers in provinces 1, 3, 6 and 7, and Maoist Center in provinces 4 and 5. Maoist Center will have deputy speakers in the provinces where UML gets speakers and vice versa, as per the sharing agreement.