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Maoists reject Koirala as President

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The Telegraph Online Published 08.06.08, 12:00 AM

Kathmandu, June 7 (PTI): The Nepali Congress today proposed the name of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala for Nepal’s first President only to be swiftly run down by the Maoists.

The former rebels showed no sign of softening their stand on a key demand of the parties on government formation.

Home minister and Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula met Maoist chief Prachanda early this morning to formally seek the backing of the Maoists for Koirala.

“Girija babu can no longer be accepted as the President or the Prime Minister of this country... He can, however, act as a guardian,” Prachanda was quoted as saying by the Nepali media.

Prachanda said the party was not in favour of Koirala’s nomination because of his old age and failing health, the website reported.

Maoists have also opposed to a constitutional amendment under which only one-third majority will be required to oust or form a government instead of the current two-thirds.

The precondition to join the government was suggested by theNepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist).

However, Prachanda today said he was ready for such an amendment if the parties give a clear assurance that they would not engage in a power struggle like they did in the past.

The Maoists, who emerged as the biggest party in the April 10 elections after winning 220 seats in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, have staked their claim to lead the next government.

However, under pressure from the Nepali Congress, the second biggest party with 110 seats, and the Communist party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), the Maoists gave up their claim for the post of President.

Earlier, Nepali Congress general secretary Rambaran Yadav said India-born Koirala, who has held the post of Prime Minister four times, deserved to be the country’s first President after its transition to a republic.

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