The Kingsized Presidential Debate of Nepal (the Youngest Republic on Earth)

First it was all about whether to install the presidential system or not. Then it was about what type of president? Executive, as proposed by the Maoist, or ceremonial, as proposed by NC and UML? That debate finally ended after political parties finally decided, on 15th Jesta when the first meeting of the CA was to take place, to have the ceremonial presidency in Nepal. They amended the interim constitution to reflect that decision as soon as the abolished monarchy.

The the Maoist brought new demand to the light: that both the president and the Prime Minister should be from their party. Having two persons from different parties will created two parallel power centers, they argued. There was tough bargain. The Maoists said that since they were the winners in the 10 April CA polls, the “losers” have no right to claim the posts. The winners, argued comrade Pushpa Kamal Dahal, take it all. Losers don’t dare to claim anything. The it was reminded to him by leaders of the losing parties that no one actually won the elections. Maoists are short of simple majority, let alone the two thirds majority that is needed to unseat the current prime minister and form the new government as per the current interim constitution. There was a tough bargain. Maoists tried their best to scare the “losers”. No they couldn’t. Finally, Maoist central secretariat decided to give up the claim to the presidency albeit with a string attached. The Maoists said that the president should come from the civil society, not from a political party.

What did they mean by that? Plain and simple: no Girija Prasad Koirala from the presidency. Koirala, the president of NC and acting head of state since 2006, is widely considered to be the next president. Today a senior leader of the party, Ram Baran Yadav, said that openly that Koirala should be the next president. The Maoists are, as of now, opposed to that idea. Their argument, again, is that there will be a parallel power center if that happens.

Why Maoists are so much worried about the parallel power center? In fact, the president will be entirely a ceremonial one. Symbolic one. But symbols are powerful. When there is a head of state not from their party but from other, Maoists will feel that they haven’t completely capture the state though their supreme leader will be having the post of the executive prime minister. The executive prime minister will not receive the credentials of the foreign ambassadors. But that’s the only thing. The executive prime minister will also not be the supreme commender of the army, that is Nepali Army. That’s it.

But this is all bargain which happens all the time in every shopping. This is the shopping of power which is called power sharing in a civilized way. Parties know that they have limits and the compromise to be reached. And that day is not that far, it seems though many might feel its taking too much time. But then bargaining is always a slow business.

Related links:

1. Agreement on govt shape, power-sharing by next week: Prachanda
2. Maoists drop president, propose neutral person
3. NC, UML dissatisfied with Maoist proposal





30 responses to “The Kingsized Presidential Debate of Nepal (the Youngest Republic on Earth)”

  1. Rajendra Pokharel, Germany Avatar
    Rajendra Pokharel, Germany

    It is about the time to honor what Koirala has done for the country and accept him as the first president of Nepal. After all, he has been defacto president during this interim period.

    Koirala, despite all his faults, stands tall among all likely candidates. Ramraja Prasad Singh is good alternative but will not be able to fill in Koirala’s shoes!

    This is about the time, we are unified behind a leader, and Koirala clearly is the one!

  2. Binaya Avatar

    Rajendar ji

    How can you say that ” Ramrajan Prasad will not be able to fill in Koirala’s shoes?”

    Ramrajan is the one who stand firm for Republic selflessly no mattes what happened to him. He chose Republic not to get any position like Girija.

    Wasn’t is it Girija who a few months ago stood for ceremonial King?

    As new political wave has swept over entire country for Republic, it’s easy for him to say he wants to be the first President of Nepal.

    Did he dare to say that in 1990 & 2006 Jana Andolan?

    During those people’s movements, he didn’t even have vision to speak “R” of Republic !!!

    At this critical moment of history, he shows how he cares about himself than his country.

    Unlike Girija, Ramraja’s standing for Republic all the way along.

  3. harke Avatar

    Why Girija parsad koirala want to stick on post. He is 84 years old and its time to take rest as he said before CA election. I think this type of “PAD Lolup” or “Pad Lipsa” will decrease his political height. The president of a party which got only 37 seats in FPTP system of CA election is suitable for First president ? Is This peoples verdict ?

  4. Raju Avatar

    Only a nonMaoist should be made president. Personally I propose Madhu Raman Acharaya for the job. He should be formally elected by the constituent assembly. Girija would be the best candidate for president, out of all the politicians.

  5. Piyush Avatar

    I am basically an optimist ,but when i look at situation of neplese politics episod by episode and the greed for power in the leadership,I cant but think that ,Nepal never had a good visionary leader.those who tried to be good are either down below in the partyline or died or killed.Sorry …we are never gonna make it .We are never gonna be a stable country with stable and posotive economic growth,It will take at least 20 more years .We have to (HAVE TO ) get rid of the faces that has been hounding politics for decades now.When will Nepal get a Nehru or a Sardar Bhai ?
    Republic or Monarchy what difference is it gonna make if we still cant decide on things without “Bhagbanda” and So called “SAHAMATI”.these are the two things that have ruined nepal.

  6. Jay Nepal Avatar
    Jay Nepal

    Despite all demerits Koirala has now earned some good credits:

    1. Brought Maoists to mainstream politics.

    2. Successfully lead the revolution.

    3. Lead coalition GOVT, not a joke.

    4. Transformed Nepal into Democratic republic.

    Most important thing: He is the only one who can make balence
    between Maoists and remaining political parties.

  7. Kirat Avatar

    A non political figure for the ceremonial Presidential role is a good one. Why on earth is it imperative for a career crook like Girija to be President? I know that the events of the last four years have thrust Girija in the spotlight and cast him in (in a false light) as a near statesman. But whatever has happened in the last couple of years or more is largely due to the momentum of the demands made by the Maoists and from influence from India. Why do people mistakenly give the credit to Girija? This guy is morally and politically bankrupt. After all he has been in charge of this country for much longer than any other figure since 1991 and he should take the major blame for the state the country is in right now. Look at how he props up his corrupt daughter and relatives-it’s digusting.

    Can’t the people of Nepal make a clean break from the likes of Girija? Or do they still need a ‘king’ like figure even if it comes in the form of a vulture that feeds on their carcass?

  8. historicaldays Avatar

    Not hungry for power, so afraid of responsability or nepalese opera again?

  9. Kirat Avatar

    Jay Nepal-

    1. India brought the Maoists into the mainstream further helped by the idiocy of Gyane. The people also gave them the vote of acceptance. Girija’s real role in all this very suscept. Remember the Maoist insurgency exploded when Girija was PM. Girija started talking to the Maoists only when he was sidelined from power by Gyane. In all this Girija has been nothing but a clever opportunist.

    2. Girija successfully lead a revolution? Unless you are talking about the 1990 one that statement is bewildering.

    3. Lead Coalition Govt-the Coalition govt. in terms of maintaining law and order, managing the economy, fuel prices etc has been terrible. The last two years of the Coalition Govt. till now it has seemed like anarchy where there is no govt., no leadership.

    4. Transformed Nepal into a republic-I give the Maoist pressure and the nod of our southern neighbour more weightage for this achievement. Girija has little to do with this.

    Why can’t we make a clean break from the past and dump corrupt leaders like Girija? We talk about New Nepal and then in the same breadth want Girija to be it’s President!

  10. Jay Nepal Avatar
    Jay Nepal

    Hi Kirat

    I agree with you that its Girija who is responsible for most of
    unmaking of Nepal. He blew up so many chances after 1990.
    He got opportunity to be 1st PM after 1990 and he is responsible
    for starting bad trend. He could have set some good example,
    but not to find any.
    But at present if we have A, B, C as president Maoists are not going to feel if there is somebody above them. Its someone
    like Girija needed for the time being .
    Power balance is need because till the date Maoists are not
    behaving as a true democratic party. They became largest party
    and started behaving like they have conqured whole earth.

  11. Deshi Avatar

    No Korala Please… Ram Raja is better…

  12. Deshi Avatar

    Why don’t Kangressis accept the changed reality? Yes maoists need to improve their behaviour but… its eelection result… how can you say Koirala… koirala… we should also get rid of Sri 6 koirala.

  13. hope Avatar

    Either you like it or not, maoists should be the one who are making the shots. As it is a trend world over, largest party getting the first priority and Nepal should have gone with the trend. As people have voted in favor of maoists( if it’s a mistake people are the one who would bear the responsibilty and consequences) and all these dillydallying by Congress for presidency is just an evidence ,why Nepal is in a sorry state as we are now. It has always been Congress which claim to be the patron of Nepali democracy , suffocating it to death everytime. It’s Congress who did it in 2007 to 2017 B.S. and it was them after 2046 to 2062 B.S who had destroyed Nepal’s democray. And it’s hardly surprising they have started their end game again. And I have no doubt they are ‘able’ enough to destroy this time as well.

    Time is just right to uproot the Congress party as a whole as people has already shown their verdict against them. A presidency for not only Girija but also a whole Congress lot must be vehemently opposed. They are actually the one who made Nepal a living hell by their own incompetence. People have paid lot of price for that, it’s pay back time,just get rid of Congress!!

  14. Bhudai Pundit Avatar
    Bhudai Pundit

    I am in complete agreement with the first Kirat. The presidental role should be given to someone who is bi-partisan and is a respected figure. Girija Prasad Koirala represents all that is wrong in Nepal and I am with the Maoists for rejecting his candidacy.

  15. Shree Shrestha Avatar
    Shree Shrestha

    Nepal king’s ‘crown’ auctioned in UK?
    7 Jun 2008, 1252 hrs IST , IANS

    A priceless crown went under the hammer at an auction in UK (Agencies Photo)
    KATHMANDU: More than a month before Nepal’s new lawmakers formally abolished the country’s 239-year-old monarchy, a priceless crown went under the hammer at an auction in London’s Bond Street.

    Now, with deposed king Gyanendra told to vacate the royal palace by June 12 and a government team beginning to take an inventory of the heirlooms in the palace, doubts are being raised, especially with the fabled crown reportedly missing.

    “Where is the Shri Pench?” Nepali tabloid Naya Patrika asked on Saturday.

    The ‘Shri Pench’ is the once revered crown worn by Nepal’s Shah dynasty of kings, who were called ‘Shri Panch’, a reference to their sway over five kingdoms. The crown is easily identifiable because of the long, bird of paradise plume descending from the jewel-studded ornament at the apex of the turban-like crown.

    “We haven’t yet come across any details of the crown,” Govind Prasad Kusum, a member of the inventory-taking team, told the daily.

    “We checked all places but could not find any information about the crown.”

    It was last worn by Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, the last king of the dynasty, on June 4, 2001 when he succeeded his slain brother Birendra.

    Another daily, the Kathmandu Post, said that along with the crown, the royal sceptre is missing as well.

    On April 10, Bonhams, one of the world’s oldest auctioneers, sold several items from the collection of a private collector, that also included the personal dagger of India’s Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who commissioned the fabled Taj Mahal that is one of the seven wonders of the world.

    The auctioned items belonged to the late Jacques Desenfans, a French millionaire who for 50 years passionately amassed rare objects d’art related to Islamic, Indian and Southeast Asian cultures, funding his acquisition drive with the money made by his family from its textile mills in Lyon.

    Along with Shah Jahan’s dagger, Persian carpets and French clocks, the auctioneers also sold a 19th century gem-studded crown made for Nepal’s royal family.

    Sold for a staggering 90,000 pounds, the crown, decorated with pearls, precious stone pendants and gems, also has a bird of paradise plume issuing from the apex.

    Could this be the missing crown?

    Or, if the crown is kept under lock and key in Mahendra Manzil, the apartment in the palace where the former queen mother Ratna stays, as the Naya Patrika daily suggested, then whose crown went under the hammer in New Bond street?

    How and when did the French collector acquire it? Who was the buyer?

    It remains to be seen if these questions will ever be answered.

    Though Nepal is now one of the poorest countries in Asia, in the past, its ruling families boasted of a fabulous treasury of jewels.

    Much of it went underground after the omnipotent Rana prime ministers lost their hereditary post in 1950 following a pro-democracy uprising.

  16. Nepali Janta Avatar

    No More Fights for Nepal’s First Presidency
    Thus, Dr. Kul Chandra Gautam could fit into this paradigm. Dr. Kul Gautam has no political ambition and has maintained his clean image in the international service career. He could be acceptable even to civil society leaders.

    There are so many instances that the former international civil service managers have managed their respective duties very efficiently. Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Moeen A.Qureshi has exhibited his excellence during the interim rule. He was senior Vice President of the World Bank. India’s current Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had spent a few years in the World Bank as its economist. Dr. Kul Gautam is no less popular in the international community’s circle. He can easily garner support from the international community for the Newest Republic of Nepal. Besides, the national government under the leadership of Maoist supremo will have no threat for easy functioning. Otherwise, Constitutional making process will be delayed which runs contrary to the people’s hope. Thus, no more fight is expected for Nepal’s first Presidency.

  17. Sangesh Avatar

    Our country is the youngest of all republic nations. Still at its infancy, we have a long way still to go and prove ourselves.

  18. guyfromktm Avatar

    Giddey Koirala just doesn’t get it– the writing is on the wall– 10 out of his 11 relatives who weere undemocratically given the NC ticket for the CA election LOST very badly during the elections. How else can the people of Nepal tell this sel proclaimed pro-democratic octogenerian that people jsut do not appreciate and think that he has any role to play post CA. Besides, it was Giddey Koirala himself who came out to say that he would retire after the CA is conducted. Its funny he still has te nerves to try and make himeself relevant in today’s politics. Somebody should pull his tube out and help him exit gracefully– else how much more does Giddey Girija want to be disgraced?

  19. coke Avatar

    There is no need of old failure leader like Girija at this moment if we are really heading toward “New Nepal”. He will sign everything in the favour of India in New Nepal building process.

    The game of politics should be end now to fullfill the real demand of the poor people. For this Grija already got 60 years chance to build the nation but he is already failed in this case.

    Why he is so much lust for power at the age of 84 when country is demanding the new change. Non brahman and chhetri should also get the chance to lead the politics.

  20. Nepali Janta Avatar
    Nepali Janta

    We have talked a lot about president of Nepal All we are not happy with GP Koirala, MK Nepal, Prachanda.

    What about having a president from non political background but with long experience, good international relation, high profile person like Kul Gautam. I think even Maoist will accept him.
    He will be widely accepted by the public.

    I think in a Nepali society he is the only one who has a clean image, he is politically neutral. He has a vision for Nepal, he could build a good relation with international community and attract donner agencies to rebuild New Nepal. Now we are in a rebuilding stage so we need international help apart from Kul Gautam no one could attract funding for the development and to transform the life of ordinary people of Nepal.

    Anyone is there to campaign to achieve it ? please email at

  21. ripvanwinkle Avatar

    the president since is having a ceromonial role the idea of a non political person chairing it is more sensible.
    even more symbolical if he or she is from the suppressed class. would be a real change.
    what is not exceptable is GPK as president.
    how can anyone think him as president. if he is elected the first president then all the revolution is a big frigging joke and republic synonym to more suffering.
    what nepali people should do is sideline him completly and in eventually forget him completly and even remove his references and memory from nepali politics. not even his shadow should remain.

    the god is gone now done make it an era of priests.

  22. zigzag Avatar

    Unclarity is national language. Go pretend somewhere else and invent the wheel again.
    With the wonderful outcome of the peoples elected peoples it will sort itself out.
    Nobody is clever or stupid enough
    1. Military dictature is avoided by prachandra
    2. what more do you want?
    3. go take a hike

  23. Doug Avatar

    As a resident of Nepal many years ago, and as an observer of Nepal’s politics for decades, I was very happy to see the Constituent Assembly elections finally held credibly and without major incident. The Maoists won the most votes but only about 1/3 of the seats in the Assembly.

    What I see happening now is a continuation of the old-style of Nepali politics. Leaders of each faction/party want power and they want to negotiate with each other about that. They do not want a straight up of down vote. They want to make deals.

    It is time for each party to name candidates for President and Prime Minister and have the Assembly vote! Instead the tired politicians of all parties want to make back room deals and arrive at a consensus. Those deals often include things that never become public and, in the past, have involved money.

    The people of Nepal deserve better. If this continues much longer it may be time for Jana Andolan III.

  24. Chanakya Avatar

    You are cent percent right about nefarious Girija’s role in Nepali politics. That guy and his clan starting from BP Koirala have ruined Nepal. I hope it ends with Girija. All these so-called great leaders have rode on India’s shoulders to accomplish their extreme greed to become the new monarchs of Nepal.

  25. Navin Avatar

    Hello Dinesh sir,
    so far I know, that most people usually politicize everything right? people don’t even know what really is republic and writing a blog post this and that..

    so far, Maoist won the election and they are the number one party in the country. SO, they should be given the full power to lead the country. (Note: i’m not way related to any parties at all but as a citizen , i feel so)

    That’s why people voted for them. There is no throwing card and stuff like that when Prachanda said that someone from the civil society be president. He’s right, we don’t want to see Girija and other crooked bastards again coming into power. We don’t really want.

    I’m afraid and worried if those goons would turn maoist leader to one of them.. they’ve to be very careful because, those corrupted leaders could do anything.

    Winners take it all, republic works that way.. and president becomes from the people, not from the bunch of corrupted political parties that we already had… and i think Prachanda is peoples leader.. he should be given a chance for independent and progressive country’s president candidacy. that’s what equation says now.

    Trying to change it would bring more turmoil.

  26. yp Avatar

    A peoples leader that allows his own goons to continue intimidation and killings. Don’t give us that I’m not affiliated to any party crap, and no 29% votes does not give free reign to anyone, infact in a democracy 100% votes should not give free “do as you please reign” to anyone.

  27. meroguff Avatar

    intimidation and killings??? buddy… every party has a bad history. Lets turn the pages of each party’s history if you are newly born kid who were gone unaware of these things.

    Current leader of peoples who revolutionized the agenda of ‘Republic’ has so much to do to cover up their guilts in past. But Congress leaders claiming that ‘Republic’ as an agenda (as if it’s their family-owned property) is bullshit. Go ahead and check what that old freak told people in mass meeting..that was nothing but BIG WHITE LIE. He’s been lying people since he was in power. You expect any good thing from such big time LIARS. All knows whose agenda was REPUBLIC. The same people are trying to obstruct the way of prosperity and development in the country.

    BOTTOMLINE- No one wants to see any of those OLD FACES in power except some ‘shoe-lickers’ and his own followers..

  28. yp Avatar

    Yes buddy intimidation and killings. Every party having that is no excuse for trying to tout Prachanda as a great leader – if he is the same as others then definitely he belongs in the dustbins like others as well. We have no room for the SAME AS anymore. Bottom line- Yes we dont have room for OLD FACES and SAME AS the SAME OLDE FACES as well.

  29. yp Avatar

    You just reaffirmed that Prachanda is the same as the old faces..

  30. My Nepal Avatar
    My Nepal

    I prefer Kul Gautam as a President of Nepal because he has these skills and abilities to act as a president of Nepal at this transition stage.

    A person of integrity who has always been honest and equitable in his dealings.
    A person who believes fervently in democracy and the rule of law,and that all are and should be equal before the law without fear or favour.
    A person who has acknowledged skills in handling situations in confict-torn countries-name some of the countries, Cambodia, Laos, Haiti and so forth.
    A person who has experience in working in a large bureaucracy ( the UN’s is far larger than Nepal’s),
    A person of exceptional intellgience.
    A person who has had dealings with kings, presidents, religious and political leaders but has never lost touch with ordinary people.
    A person whose focus has always been on the next generation and the future, and not on the past.
    A person who has proven diplomatic skills.
    A person who is thoroughly versed in the different cultures of his nation and can discuss its literature, music, and the arts.
    A person who has experienced the hardship of growing up in one of the poorest areas of this nation and who has overcome all the odds to become one of this nation’s great achievers.
    A person who has remained neutral and treats all without fear or favour.’

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