The 12th convention of the Nepali Congress (NC) has elected veteran leader Sushil Koirala, a member of the influential Koirala family, as its new president. More than 3,000 party delegates voted in the polls. Mr. Koirala bagged 1,652 votes, defeating his nearest rival the former Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, who obtained 1,317 votes. The third candidate, Bhim Bahadur Tamang, got 78 votes.

This was NC's first convention after the death of its president, Girija Prasad Koirala, last March and after the unification of NC and its splinter group, NC (Democratic) led by Mr. Deuba, two-and-a-half years ago. It is being considered as extremely significant for it comes at a time when the Nepali peace and Constitution process is stuck.

The delegates endorsed a political proposal that spelt out a clear stand that co-operation with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) was possible only if the latter implemented its peace process commitments. This would include the Maoists detaching from their military structure, returning confiscated property and dismantling the paramilitary structure of the Young Communist League. The party also emphasised that managing relations with India and China would be a foremost foreign policy challenge for the country in the coming years.

Delegates have also voted to elect a new general secretary, treasurer, and new central committee members. Counting was underway as of late Wednesday evening.


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