Nepal's new prime minister faces five challenges



Newly-elected Nepal Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli has to go through five major challenges in the days to come, according to a respected political analyst here.

In an interview with Xinhua on Sunday, political commentator Somat Ghimire said that firstly, Oli must make serious efforts in ending a diplomatic standoff and smoothen relations with India which has been soured because of the "unofficial blockade" that India has imposed on Nepal after the latter promulgated its new constitution.

After a long delay, the new constitution was approved last Sept. 20 by the overwhelming majority of the members of Nepal's Constituent Assembly.

India has denied that it has imposed any sanctions on Nepal although many Nepali people believed that India was not happy with the approval of the new constitution since it reportedly has not met its expectations.

India has halted the export of petroleum products and basic commodities to Nepal, resulting in an artificial shortage of these commodities and giving a lot of problems to the Nepali people over the past two weeks.

"We hope Oli can restore the normal relations between India and Nepal so that Nepal's importation of Indian petroleum products and other commodities would resume," Ghimire said.

Second, the Oli government has to make serious efforts toward ending the ongoing crisis in the Terai Region by holding dialogues with the dissident Madhesi parties who want the constitution to be amended to meet their demands, Ghimire said.

Thirdly, Ghimire said, the Oli government must work to fully implement the new constitution as expected by the Nepali people.

According to Ghimire, the fourth task that the Oli government must exert all efforts is to unite the country and do away with political infighting, especially because the largest party in the Nepali Parliament, the Nepali Congress, is in the opposition. " This reality alone is a big challenge for Oli," Ghimire said.

Another roadblock to the functioning of an efficient government under Prime Minister Oli is that his coalition partners are reportedly not fully supportive of his ideas of governance and working style, Ghimire said.

"The UCPN (Maoist) - a leftist party, and Rashtriya Prajatantra Party Nepal - a rightist force, and other fringe parties who are coalition partners in the new government may create hurdles for Oli to function effectively. There might develop some rifts among the coalition partners and Oli could be forced to step down prematurely if he fails to maintain good rapport with them and keep their support," Ghimire said.

Fifth, the new government should work to rehabilitate tens of thousands of people affected by a devastating earthquake in April 25 this year that claimed around 9,000 lives with thousands still missing.

Oli, 63, believed to be a hardliner in Nepali politics, has said that he is committed to preserve the country's national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. He has assured the Nepali people that he will strengthen bilateral ties with China and India, Nepal's prosperous neighbors.

During an earlier interview with Xinhua, Oli had expressed his commitment to maintaining Nepal's long-standing one-China policy, saying Nepal will not allow any external forces in its territory to work against China's core interests.