All is not well between UML, Maoists in Nepal over Presidency

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Kathmandu, Jun 24 (UNI) All is not well between the newfound Communist alliance between UML and Maoists in the Himalayan nation, with the latter averse to the idea of the former's outgoing general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, who was defeated in the April 10 Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, assuming the presidency of the youngest republic.

''The Maoist argument that the presidential candidate should not be someone who has lost in the CA poll is meaningless and it's the UML's internal business whom it selects as its presidential candidate. The UML has informally proposed outgoing general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal for the top post'' UML leader Pokharel remarked yesterday when reminded that the Maoist secretariat has already decided to propose chairman of Nava Janabadi Morcha Ram Raja Prasad Singh for the president's post.

However, a Maoist minister Deb Gurung, speaking at a programme, categorically rejected the possibility of Nepal becoming president, arguing that he had lost the elections in both the constituencies he contested.

A Maoist source also said the party will never accept Nepal as president. ''Our first preference is Ramraja Prasad Singh and we may settle for Sahana Pradhan only if our efforts for Singh fail,'' the source was quoted as saying by Kantipur.

A source close to the UML source said the Maoists, during the meeting, agreed to the UML claim for the post of president.

However, Dr Bhattarai said, ''We didn't discuss the issue of the next president during the meeting. The issue of power sharing will come up only after the constitution is amended.'' Meanwhile, UML leader Pokharel said, ''The Maoists are very positive about the UML's claim for the presidency.'' UNI XC SZ KP1209

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