Deuba 3.0

Nepali Times issue #199 4-10 June 2004

20 years ago this week, King Gyanendra appointed Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress as the prime minister for the third time. Political analysts thought Deuba had a chance to end the political deadlock and find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. But within a year Gyanendra declared Deuba 'incompetent' and staged a military coup on 1 February 2005.

Deuba has gone on to be the prime minister for the fifth time and according to his astrologer, he will make it seven times. K P Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal have held the position three times each.

Excerpt of the page 1 report published on issue #199 4-10 June 2004:

It took nearly a month to get a successor to Surya Bahadur Thapa, and the delay prompted speculation of back channel talks between the Maoists and palace emissaries. It was reportedly after those dialogues failed that the five party alliance was asked to come up with a common candidate for premiership. But the alliance fell apart over differences between the NC and the UML on whether or not to send a nominee.

Essentially, there was no procedural difference between Deuba's appointment and that of Thapa and Lokendra Bahadur Chand before him. But analysts say where Deuba can make a difference is in showing that he can take the parties along. To do this, paradoxically, he has to prove to them that he is not a palace pawn.

Minendra Rijal of the NC (Democratic) told us his party was taking things step by step, adding: "We are determined to get all the parties on board." But NC spokesman Arjun Narsingh KC was less upbeat: "It shows regression hasn't ended. Deuba may have been reinstated, but the people's sovereignty has not."

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