`Integration of ex-Maoist fighters before new Constitution`

Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Poudyal, Monday underlined that the constitution should be promulgated only after Maoists complete the inegration of their ex-combatants with the security forces.

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2010, 21:48 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Poudyal, who has refused to quit the prime ministerial race, Monday underlined that the constitution should be promulgated only after Maoists complete the inegration of their ex-combatants with the security forces.

Poudyal, who failed to garner a majority in Parliament even after 12 rounds of election, said his party "was not power hungry".

He said his party can collaborate with the Maoists only after the former rebels present clear proof that it they had abandoned the politics of violence.

"The task of integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist combatants should be completed in order to conclude the peace process before promulgating the new constitution,"
Poudyal said during a function in southern Nepal`s Chitawan district.

He made it clear that the new constitution should be promulgated only after completing the management of the Maoists` 19,000 former combatants, some of them still housed
in UN monitored camps.

Blaming the other parties for the current political deadlock, he said his party is committed to establishing peace and drafting a democratic constitution.
If the constitution is promulgated in the present circumstances, it cannot protect democratic rights of the people, he said, adding permanent peace cannot be attained so long as "there are two armies" in the country.

He said the new constitution should be written only after vacating the cantonments where the Maoists` Peoples` Liberation Army personnel are stationed.

Nepal`s Parliament has failed to elect a Prime Minister for an unprecedented 12th time in a row, prolonging the leadership crisis in the country. The next round of election has been scheduled for October 26.

The country has been in political limbo since the June 30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, which has stalled Nepal`s peace process and further delayed
the annual budget.

PTI