Nepal PM Prachanda’s visit to Qatar cancelled amid threat to his govt


Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” has cancelled his first foreign visit to Qatar due to some “important political engagements” at home, officials said on Monday, amidst a threat to the stability of his coalition government ahead of the presidential election.

“Prachanda” was scheduled to leave for Doha on March 3 to participate in the Fifth Conference of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) taking place there, his first official foreign trip since assuming office two months ago.

“The Prime Minister’s visit to Qatar to attend the Fifth Conference of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) has been cancelled due to his important political engagements at home,” Prachanda’s Media Coordinator Surya Kiran Sharma told PTI on Monday.

Earlier, on Sunday the Foreign Ministry announced that Prime Minister Prachanda would visit Qatar, in connection with participating in LDCs meeting, as his first foreign trip after assuming the top executive position.

However, the Prime Minister decided not to leave the country in view of the presidential election scheduled to take place on March 9, the Prime Minister’s aide confirmed.

Meanwhile, just hours before Foreign Minister Bimala Rai Paudyal was scheduled to fly to Geneva to attend a high-level session of the UN Human Rights Council, Prime Minister Prachanda asked her to cancel the visit.

The development comes as a new ruling coalition minus the CPN-UML is in the making in Kathmandu just ahead of the presidential election on March 9, Nepalease media reported on Monday.

Eight political parties, including CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda, have decided to support senior Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Poudyal for the post of head of the state during the election.

Prachanda, the 68-year-old Maoist leader was sworn in as the Prime Minister for the third time on December 26 last year after he dramatically walked out of the pre-poll alliance led by the Nepali Congress and joined hands with opposition leader Oli.

The Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (PPP), a key partner in the seven parties ruling alliance in Nepal, has decided to withdraw its support to ‘Prachanda’-led government, citing changes in the political equation.

Maoist Center Chairman and Prime Minister ‘Prachanda’ has dealt a blow to the ruling alliance by selecting a presidential candidate from outside the ruling alliance.

The presidential election scheduled for early next month has put a serious question mark on the future of the seven-party ruling alliance.

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( With inputs from )

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