Nepal Today

Sunday, May 12, 2013

STOCK PRICES FALL SUNDAY Kathmandu, 12 May: Stock prices fell on the first day of weekly trading Sunday. Nepse closed at 483,62 points after losing 2.66 points. Commercial and hydro power shares lost. Trade volume was low. Only 326,290 shares were traded for Rs.46.705 million in 790 transactions. nnnn SUSHIL KPORALA APPOINTING PARLIAMENTARY BOARD; Kathmandu, 12 May: A month after the party’s Mahasamiti meet, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala has initiated homework to make appointments to the party’s parliamentary board. The board is responsible for selecting candidates for the national and local elections, Kamal Dev Bhattaraiwrites in The Kathmandu Post.. As major parties are planning to hold a fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) election in November, the formation of the board is the party’s top agenda for election preparations, leaders said. The Mahasamiti meeting held from April 8-11 in Nawalparsi district decided to give a complete shape to the party’s central departments and organisations within a month. President Koirala has sought a name list from senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba faction for appointments to the party’s internal bodies. “As per Mahasamiti mandate, the party president is working on the formation of internal departments,” said General Secretary Prakash Man Singh. The Deuba faction is insisting that appointments in the party’s organisations should be made in a package rather than going for a piecemeal. The NC’s statute has it that the 15-member parliamentary board should be formed within two months of the completion of party’s General Convention. However, there has not been any progress towards that effect even 31 months after the 13th General Convention held in 2010. Ramesh Rijal, NC Central Working Committee member close to Deuba, said there has not been any serious consultation inside the party about the appointments. The formation of the parliamentary board will be a tough task for the party, with Koirala and Deuba factions yet to reach a consensus on the election issue. Both the factions want dominant presence in the board to have their influence over the selection of candidates. Besides, with many aspiring to become a board member, both Koirala and Deuba are finding it hard to satisfy leaders close to them. Expressing dissatisfaction over the election process, many leaders filed proxy candidates in many constituencies. Settling disputes over the formation of party departments is another challenge facing the Congress party. The rift between Koirala and Deuba reached a climax after the department chiefs and zonal coordinators loyal to Deuba resigned en mass on August 15 last year. Internal power sharing has been a contentious issue in the NC since its last General Convention in 2010 when Koirala defeated Deuba in the presidential race. The party chairman is also working hard to resolve the long-running dispute in the party’s sister wing Nepal Student Union. It has been six years since the union held its last General Convention but there is no sign of holding next convention. nnnn: SHARIF STAGES COMEBACK IN PAKISTAN Kathmandu, 12 May: Toppled in a 1999 coup, jailed and exiled, Nawaz Sharif has made a triumphant election comeback and was heading for a third term as Pakistan 's prime minister, Reuters reports from Islamabad.. The polls were a landmark, marking the first time one elected government will replace another. But the vote failed to realize the hopes of many that dynastic politics would end after years of misrule and corruption. The wealthy steel magnate from the pivotal Punjab province held off a challenge from former cricket star Imran Khan who had hoped to break decades of dominance by Sharif and the Pakistan People's Party led by the Bhutto family. Sharif, 63, declared victory in a jubilant speech to supporters as results from Saturday's election showed a overwhelming lead for his party. "Results are still coming in, but this much is confirmed: we're the single largest party so far," he declared to hoots of joy from the crowd in Punjab's capital, Lahore. "Please pray that by morning we're in a position that we don't need the crutch of coalition partners." Despite pre-election violence and attacks on Saturday that killed at least 17 people, millions turned out to cast their ballot in a milestone election for a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history. With the count continuing into the night, Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) was leading in 119 of the 272 National Assembly seats that were contested. His party may not have enough seats to rule on its own and may be forced into a coalition, which could make it difficult to push reforms desperately needed to revive a near-failed economy. Sharif, who advocates free-market economics, is likely to pursue privatization and deregulation to revive flagging growth. He will have to ease widespread discontent over endemic corruption, chronic power cuts and crumbling infrastructure in the nuclear-armed country, a strategic U.S. ally. One of the first likely tasks will be to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund for a multi-billion-dollar bailout. Cricketing hero Khan in the end did not have the momentum needed to trip up Sharif despite his popularity among urban youths, many of whom were voting for the first time in an election that saw a robust turnout of 60 percent. They had rallied behind Khan's calls for an end to graft and a halt to U.S. drone strikes against suspected militants on Pakistan i soil. Still, Khan's Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) put up a strong fight against the PPP, with the count showing the two parties neck-and-neck with about 34 seats each. The PPP led the government for the past five years with 124 lawmakers in parliament. "Nawaz's victory says two things about Pakistan : one, the people of Pakistan prefer the comfort of status quo over the uncertainty of revolutions; and two, all roads to the center go through Punjab, and in Punjab, people are right-leaning and conservative," said senior journalist Nusrat Javeed. "Still, for a party that only really arrived on the political scene in a serious way two years ago, PTI's performance was remarkable, to say the least." BLOODY ELECTION DAY A string of bomb blasts marred election day, with one attack on a party office in the southern city of Karachi killing 11 people and wounding about 40. Pakistan 's Taliban, which is close to al Qaeda, has killed more than 125 people in election-related violence since April. The group, which is fighting to topple the U.S.-backed government, regards the poll as un-Islamic. Despite Pakistan 's history of coups, the army stayed out of politics during the five years of the last government and threw its support behind Saturday's election. It still sets foreign and security policy and will steer the thorny relationship with Washington as NATO troops withdraw from neighboring Afghanistan in 2014. However, some fear the military could step back in if there were a repeat of the incompetence and corruption that frustrated many Pakistan is during the last government. Sharif, who was toppled in a 1999 bloodless coup by former army chief Pervez Musharraf, has said generals have no place in politics. He may also take steps to improve ties with Pakistan 's arch-enemy, India. Efforts to boost trade between the neighbors have stalled due to suspicion on both sides. If Sharif is forced into a coalition he may look to Islamist parties to cobble together a majority in parliament. On top of the 272 contested seats, a further 70 - most reserved for women and members of non-Muslim minorities - are allocated to parties on the basis of their performance in the constituencies. To have a majority of the total of 342, the government would need 172 seats. nnnn


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