New Prime Minister of Nepal Jhala Nath Khanal says India and China should be happy with his election


Prime Minister-elect Jhala Nath Khanal has said that peace and statute will be his government's central priority and that it will try to expand the current majority government into a consensus government by bringing in other political parties based on a common minimum programme. Khanal expressed optimism that his election should make both India and China happy. In an exclusive interview to Kamal Raj Sigdel of The Kathmandu Post right after his election, Khanal shared how he would move ahead and what would be the priorities of his government. Excerpts:

What will be your focus?

I believe that delivering peace and statute in the given timeline is the main challenge facing the country at this point in time and this is also a challenge for me and my government. The time is too short and I will move ahead with the peace and statute as the central plank of my administration while taking all the political parties into confidence.

Where will you start?

Peace is the most important priority. We will prepare an action plan and build on the works accomplished so far. The same is true with the statute writing process. But before all that, we will form a government after holding discussions with the parties supporting us.

Will the government be long coming?

No, but it may not take full shape at one go.

What will be its size?

As far as possible, small. I will try to ensure all candidates in the government are capable. The government has a mission to accomplish.

Will you induct other parties too, such as Congress?

I will try to bring in all other parties starting with those willing to join immediately and the rest gradually.

What will be the basis for inducting other parties in the government?

We will form a common minimum programme (CMP), including basic understanding on peace and statute. Also, a code of conduct for the common minimum programme.

Has a leftist polarisation started under your leadership?

I am not for polarisation. It  won’t  do the country any good. I will move ahead in sync with democratic forces.

It seems this government was not favoured by India. What do you say?

Nepal is an independent and sovereign country and it is the people who decide what type of government is formed here. This is a government formed with good judgment of the people. I feel it will make our friends happy, especially India and China.

There is speculation the Maoist agenda will prevail in your government and yours will be sidelined.

We will prepare a CMP and policy. The Maoists will get more seats but we will move ahead with the CMP. We have peace and statute at the centre stage.

Can you deliver on peace and statute when a major party is in the opposition?

We will strive for both the peace and statute writing processes. We will accelerate the statute-writing and for peace process, we will follow a concrete and time-bound action plan.

How will you address the factionalism in your party?

Our party remains united. There are no any differences inside and it will perform more effectively.

(Originally published at The Kathmandu Post,

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