Nepal Today

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Political parties finalizing list of candidates for direct elections

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 24 Feb: Major parties Sunday were holding last minute and frantic meetings to finalize list of candidates for direct elections for the 10 April uncertain and unlikely constituent assembly elections.
Until Saturday, Nepali Congress finalized a list of 203 candidates from 68 of 75 districts as the parliamentary committee continued meeting Sunday to finalize the list which has to be submitted to the Election Commission by a deadline Monday.
The party has already submitted a list of 335 candidates for a closed lust for indirect elections; ailing Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is contesting indirect elections.
Daughter Sujata has been allotted a ticket from his traditional constituency to ensure her election. Koirala brought her directly into government last year by appointing her minister without portfolio and admitted he made a mistake by not giving her a ticker in the last election in 1999.
CPN-UML standing committee Saturday prepared a list of 601 candidates for direct and indirect elections—240 will contest direct and 335 indirect elections.
Madhav Kumar Nepal is contesting from the capital and a traditional constituency in Rautahat.
A final selection will be made Sunday.
Differences have surfaced in both the major parties over the distribution of tickets.
Youth have protested in Nepali Congress.
Sher Bahadur Deuba is contesting from two constituencies in Daldeldhura and Kanchanpur.
Charka Prasad Bastola has received a ticket from Jhapa despite saying he won’t contest.
Arjun Narsingh KC first received a ticket to fight Prachanda from constituency 6 in the capital but the ticket was suddenly withdrawn; a disgruntled KC threatened he may not contest after all.
Sushil Koirala is fighting from Banke No 2 and Ram Chandra Paudel from Tanahu 1 and Gobinda Raj Joshi from his traditional constituency in Tanahu..
Prakash Man Singh is standing up form Kathmandu 1 and Home Minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula from Jhapa 3.
An influential group consisting of former home minister Gobinda Raj Joshi charged the trio of Deuba, Paudel and Sushil Koirala for arbitrarily distributing tickets without the knowledge of the prime minister.
“Even incumbent lawmakers from terai where a movement is ongoing haven’t been given tickets,” Joshi said at an assembly of dissidents at his residence Saturday.
Koirala and Deuba factions in the party are competing for seats amid charges the party hasn’t united psychologically even after unification.
Dr Minendra Rijal, close to Deuba, hasn’t received a ticker from Morang from where Mahesh Acharya has secured a berth.
CPN (Maoist) headquarter is also finalizing its list of candidates 36 hours before its presentation.
Prachanda is contesting from a Kathmandu constituency and Rolpa while Baburam Bhattarai is standing up form his home district Gorkha.
From the CPN-UML JhalanathKhanal is contesting from Ilam 1, KP Sharma Oli from Jhana 7, Bamdeb Gautam from Bardia 1, Bharat Mohan Aadhikri from Morang 2; Ishwar Pokhrel is contesting from Kathmandu 5.
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Details of fresh Indian involvement

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 24 Feb: India’s direct involvement in the Madesh issue has started, Tilak Pathak, Jitendta Khadka report in Nepal.
Indian ambassador Shib Shankar Mukherjee started direct talks with Madesh leaders immediately after his tenure was extended three months.
Indian Ambassador Shib Shabkar Muhkherjee has presented this roadmap to Madesh leaders.
1. Withdraw agitation.
2. Leave demand for One Madesh, one pradesh to be decided by constituent assembly.
3. Leave demand for self-determination and go for ‘content’.
4. ‘Consider’ election process; don’t go for amendment in interim constitution.
5. Participate in elections accepting prime minister’s assurances.
6. Go for adjustment with Congress in election.
Sources said Congress leaders asked Indian embassy to create an environment when talks reached a failing point after which Congress and Madesh leaders were summoned to the embassy 20 February.
Jayaprakash Gupta claims they were called to the Indian embassy by the Indian ambassador in the prime minister’s request.
India wants to convey the message it wants and is for constituent assembly election. Secondly, The purpose of the 12-point agreement in New Delhi brokered by India is also assembly election for which the tenure of Mukherjee has been extended by another three months.
If election isn’t held, Indian role will be reduced with the rise of US influence. India doesn’t want this.
India wants election on schedule to prepare for the withdrawal of UNMIN from Nepal.
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23,000 Bhutanese refugees seek resettlement in USA

Kathmandu, 24 Feb: Country representative of UNHCR in Nepal Daisy Dell said on Saturday that over 23,000 Bhutanese refugees have applied for third country resettlement till now, The Kathmandu Post reports.
According to her, UNHCR has forwarded a name list of about 10,000 refugees for third country settlement, she also informed that the Home Ministry last week started issuing travel documents to refugees opting for resettlement.
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