OLD HAT

Girija Prasad Koirala is back in the saddle at Singha Darbar. This is his fourth stint in the hot seat that have seen ten turns and six occupants since democracy was restored a decade ago. But it had better not be business as usual this time around, since Koirala has taken charge after ousting the person he himself had installed about a year ago.

Back then, it was hailed as a master stroke. Koirala's Nepali Congress was heading a coalition with the Nepal Communist Party (UML) when he called for mid-term elections "to rid the country of political instability". The Nepali Congress, while a divided house, was still in one piece even as its main rivals—both the NCP (UML) as well as the conservative Rastriya Prajatantra Party—had split formally. To check dissent and control rebel candidates within his party, Koirala announced that if his party gained an absolute majority, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai would be the next prime minister.

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Himal Southasian
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