Bhattarai for national govt to end political deadlock
Last Updated: Sunday, May 15, 2011, 20:55
Kathmandu: Top Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai Sunday underlined the need for a national government in the country, amid the political deadlock over Nepal's peace process that has delayed the promulgation of a new constitution.

Bhattarai, Vice-Chairman of the largest political party UCPN-Maoist, said a national government should be formed either by replacing the current coalition or by the inclusion of main opposition Nepali Congress and Madhes-based parties.

He claimed the parties are making efforts to form a national government before May 28, the deadline for the promulgation of a new constitution.

His comments came amid stepped up pressure by the opposition parties for the formation of a national coalition before they agree to extend the term of the parliament, which expires in two weeks.

The coalition led by Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal on May 12 registered a constitution amendment bill in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, which acts as the country's interim parliament, proposing a one-year extension for the House.

The government, which does not have the required two-thirds majority for the endorsement of the bill, needs the support of the opposition parties for extending the term of the House.

Talking to reporters in eastern Nepal's Biratnagar airport, Bhattarai said the Maoist proposed the extension of the Assembly's term in a bid to push forward the peace process and draft the constitution.

Underlining the need for consensus, Bhattarai said the past three years have exposed the consequences of differences.

Stating that the Maoists do not want any more conflict in the country, he said there is no alternative to consensus in order to guarantee the accomplishment of the peace process and draft the constitution.

The non-Maoist parties have made it clear that drafting a constitution and concluding the peace process was not possible unless the Maoists agree to rehabilitate their combatants, return the seized property and dismantle their paramilitary youth wing, Young Communist League.

Meanwhile, the Maoists today set up a new students wing, All Nepal National Free Students Union (Revolutionary).

The Maoists' youth wing has been slammed by other parties for resorting to violence and intimidation to push forward their political agenda.

Nepal has been faced with political instability since the landmark 2008 Constituent Assembly election.

Normal life in districts close to the capital was crippled today due to strike called by different ethnic and regional groups agitating for greater rights in the constitution.

The shutdown enforced by ethnic groups, including Nepal Chhetri Samaj, affected normal life in Chitawan, Kavre, Dhading and other nearby districts.


First Published: Sunday, May 15, 2011, 20:55

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