Indian among top envoys push Nepal parties to end deadlock

Amid growing international concern over the deepening constitutional crisis in Nepal, top envoys on Thursday stepped up consultations with top political leaders for an early election of a new PM.

Kathmandu: Amid growing international
concern over the deepening constitutional crisis in Nepal, top
envoys, including those from India, the US and UN, on Thursday
stepped up consultations with top political leaders for an
early election of a new prime minister so that the stalled
peace process is not derailed.

Ambassadors of India and United States along with the
chief of the UNMIN, which is tasked to monitor the 2006 peace
process, intensified high-level political parleys amid growing
political uncertainty with the parliament failing to elect the
new prime minister despite two rounds of voting.
Indian ambassador Rakesh Sood met Nepali Congress vice
president and party`s prime ministerial candidate Ram Chandra
Poudyal and discussed the political development in the country
including the prime ministerial election.

Poudyal claimed that the Nepali Congress would be able
to garner enough support from the parties to form the new
government in the next round of voting on August 2, the
nepalnews online reported.

Scott H. DeLisi, the US ambassador to Nepal, held
separate meetings Maoist chairman and party`s prime
ministerial candidate Prachanda and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum
(Loktantrik) chairman Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, who is also the
deputy prime minister in the caretaker government.

DeLisi underlined the need for the formation of new
government at the earliest. He said successive indecisive
voting for the Prime Minister`s post would only deepen the
political deadlock in the country.

According to sources, Prachanda told the envoy that
his party is in favour of a consensus government for which it
is holding talks with other parties.

The US ambassador had met CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath
Khanal yesterday, conveying his government`s concern over the
prolonged deadlock, the report said.

DeLisi told Khanal that the CPN-UML`s decision to
remain neutral during the prime ministerial election will only
further delay the government formation and eventually put the
peace and constitution drafting process at risk.

Karin Landren, Chief of the United Nations Mission in
Nepal (UNMIN), during her meeting with Maoist vice-chairman
Baburam Bhattarai today expressed concern over the ongoing
exercise to form a majority-based government.

She said such a government may not be able to conclude
the peace process and draft the new constitution.
"She requested Bhattarai to take steps for a consensus
government as a majority-based government would be weak to
complete the peace process," Bhattarai?s aide Biswadeep Pandey
was quoted as saying by the myrepublica, the news website of
Republica daily.

According to Pandey, Landren said protracted process
of government formation is consuming time while the UNMIN?s
extended term is coming to an end soon. As such, the remaining
time will not be sufficient to complete the process of the
integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants.

A run-off poll for the Prime Minister`s post ended in
a fiasco on July 23, with both Maoist supremo Prachanda and
his 65-year-old Nepali Congress rival Poudyal failing to
get majority support in the 601-member parliament.

58-year-old former premier Prachanda received 241
votes in favour and 113 against him. The lawmakers had
rejected him for the post in the July 21 election as well when
he had bagged 242 votes in favour and 114 against, failing to
touch the magic figure of 301.

Poudyal too crashed out of the race, receiving just
123 votes in favour and 243 against. In the earlier round on
July 21, he received only 124 votes.

CPN-Maoist is the single-largest party with 238 MPs,
while Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have 114 and 109 seats
respectively in the Constituent Assembly, whose two-year term
was extended by one year on May 28.

The Maoists fought a 10-year civil war against the
state before winning 2008 elections, abolishing Nepal`s
240-year-old monarchy and turning the country into a secular

The Maoists led by Prachanda formed a government in
2008, but it later collapsed after a dispute with President
Ram Baran Yadav over their attempt to replace the then army
chief Rukmangad Katawal.

The country has been in political limbo since the
resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is
currently heading a caretaker government.

Political analysts have warned that a delay in forming
a new government could derail the 2006 peace process. "There
will be chaos. All the government`s plans and policies will be
affected," a top analyst said.