KATHMANDU, Jan 24: Only three of the seven federal provinces are likely to see their governments serving out their full five-year tenures as the political parties are exploring the possibility of rotating the chief ministers as part of power sharing at the provincial level.
While the CPN-UML is planning to lead a five-year government in three provinces including Province 5 , discussions are underway to rotate governments with the CPN(Maoist Center) in the other two provinces in order to end their interparty dispute over power sharing.
UML is also mulling rotating the chief minister in Province 4 as there are two prime aspirants for the coveted post. Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), the two tarai-centric parties seen as favorites to form the government in the province, are in separate discussions to rotate the government.
The seven provinces are expected to get their governments by the second week of February. The constitution makes it mandatory for provincial assemblies to appoint the chief ministers within a month of their first meeting.
Elected representatives in each provincial assembly will choose the chief minister in the same way parliament at the center elects the prime minister.
The parties are yet to pick their chief ministerial candidates for six of the provinces. UML Secretary Shankar Pokharel has been picked as the chief ministerial candidate for Province 5. The party has reportedly finalized its candidates for other provinces also but is refraining from taking a formal decision in view of ongoing negotiations with Maoist Center.
The Maoists have demanded two chief ministerial berths in the ongoing power negotiations .
Besides Pokharel, UML leader Sherdhan Rai and Astha Laxmi Shakya are the party's potential picks for chief minister in Provinces 1 and 3 respectively, according to UML leaders. Meanwhile, Lalbabu Raut of FSFN and Jitendra Sonal of RJPN are seen as potential picks for chief minister in Province 2, according to cross party leaders. Kiran Gurung and Prithvi Subba Gurung are expected to rotate in government in Province 4.
Leaders engaged in negotations said that UML and Maoist leaders have floated a proposal to rotate governments in at least three provinces including provinces 6 and 7.
Prakash Jwala of UML and Mahendra Bahadur Shahi of the Maoists are seen as frontrunners to lead the government in Province 6, while Prakash Shahi and Satya Pahadi are favorites for chief minister in Province 7.
The proposal to rotate the governments at provincial level has drawn criticism from party rank and file who fear that this could cause instability and chaos and create difficulties in the functionings of the governments.