By Sangam Prasain
Kathmandu, Nov 19 (EFE).- As Nepal prepares for its general elections on Sunday with nearly 18 million registered voters, left-wing candidates KP Sharma Oli and Sher Bahadur Deuba are being seen as the frontrunners for the prime ministerial post.
The five main contenders in the elections are:
KP Sharma Oli
The president of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and former prime minister KP Sharma Oli is one of the favorites to lead the country in the second general elections since a new constitution came into effect in 2015.
Oli, who unified the Nepali communist movement in the 1970s, has already served as PM after the first elections under the new constitution but was forced to resign in 2016,
Named as the prime minister again in February 2018, he led the largest government of Nepal in decades after merging his party with the Maoists, but the alliance collapsed in 2021 and Oli was ousted by a Supreme Court order in favor of incumbent prime minister Deuba.
SHER BAHADUR DEUBA
Five time PM Deuba, head of the Nepali Congress party, is seen as the other strong contender for winning the polls, with the results set to be announced on Dec. 8.
The 76-year-old leader began his political career as a student activist and became prominent after Nepal’s transition to democracy in 1990.
Six years later, in 1996 he formed his first government, the same year when Maoists led by former prime minister Baburam Bahttarai sent a list of 40 demands, which were rejected and triggered a civil war that continued for a decade and killed over 17,000 people while around 2,000 were forcibly disappeared.
After two terms in the turbulent 2000s, Deuba returned to power in 2017 in alliance with the Maoists, but his government lasted barely eight months.
PUSHPA KAMAL DAHAL
The president of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), former rebel commander Pushpa Kamal Dahal – who is popularly known by his non-de-guerre Prachanda (ferocious ) – is also a major contender for the country’s top post.
However, Dahal faltered in his initial attempts to lead the first democratic government, and he could not hold the prime minister’s post for longer than nine months in his two brief stints.
The merger of his party with Oli’s formation brought Dahal to power as part of a power-sharing agreement, but clashes between the two wings of the party led to the alliance collapsing.
In the 2022 elections, Dahal has again joined hands with Deuba.
MADHAV KUMAR NEPAL
Former prime minister (2009-2011) Madhav Kumar Nepal heads the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist) after distancing himself from Oli last year.
Kumar Nepal began to participate in the communist movement in 1969, and served on several senior posts in the Maoist party. He also became the deputy prime minister for nine months in 1995, before being elected as the PM in 2009.