Nepal PM scrapes through crucial poll

May 3rd, 2008 - 1:12 pm ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 3 (IANS) While most of his family members and trusted allies were axed by Nepal’s first national elections in almost a decade, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala scraped through in a manoeuvre that is likely to widen the rift in his disenchanted party. Although the octogenarian politician’s hope of perpetuating a dynasty was rudely shattered by the defeat of his debutante daughter Sujata and the humbling of his cousin Sushil Koirala, the clan managed to keep a toehold in power politics. Koirala himself made it to the 601-member constituent assembly, thanks to the mixed election system.

Koirala’s Nepali Congress (NC) party faced a mortifying rout in the direct fights for 240 seats, winning only 37 seats. However, the proportional representation (PR) system gave it an additional 73 seats.

Although Koirala did not take part in the direct fights and stayed away from active campaigning due to failing health, he was nominated by the party along with 72 others.

On Friday evening, the Election Commission announced the names of the 335 representatives nominated by their parties under the PR system.

The NC list has triggered a severe heartburn among party members, who are holding its top leaders responsible for the defeat.

About 60 percent of the 73 new entrants are from the Koirala camp despite allegations of nepotism and failed leadership against the premier.

The remaining are from the faction loyal to Koirala’s former prot

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