Key meeting of Nepal`s major parties fail to end pol deadlock
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 23:47
Kathmandu: A key meeting of Nepal's major parties on Wednesday failed to end a standoff pushing the country towards a constitutional crisis as the main Opposition Maoists insisted that the prime minister must quit before it could cooperate in extending the parliament's term beyond May 28.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, CPN-UML president Jhalanath Khanal, Maoist chairman Prachanda and Nepali Congress acting president Shushil Koirala met today but failed to reach an agreement to end the standoff.

The meeting at the Constituent Assembly this evening ended inconclusively as the Maoists insisted that the Prime Minister must quit in order to get its cooperation to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly.

The Maoists put Prime Minister's resignation as a pre-condition to extend the term of the Assembly, but the ruling parties asked the Maoists not to link it with a power sharing deal.

We asked the Maoists not to bargain for the post of Prime Minister (with its demand) to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly, Bimalendra Nidhi, the Nepali Congress general secretary said after the meeting.

We have urged the Maoists to focus on drafting the constitution and the peace process instead of the power sharing deal, he said.

Nepal's ruling coalition last week introduced a bill in the 601-Assembly to extend the term of the House for one year so that it can finish the task of framing a constitution.

CPN-Maoist party, with nearly 35 percent of the parliamentary seats, have refused to cooperate in extending the Assembly till the Prime Minister steps down.

The leaders of the three major parties -- the main Opposition CPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the prime minister's Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) -- agreed to meet again tomorrow to find a solution, he said.

The crucial meeting in the evening took place after a a "secret" meeting between the Prime Minister and Maoists supremo to end the political standoff. The Prime Minister urged Prachanda to help extend the term of the House without any pre-conditions.

The Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, the two largest parties in the ruling 22-party coalition, have asked the Prime Minister not to resign unless the Maoists agree to a six-point agenda, including the integration of the PLA combatants and the dissolution of their paramilitary structure of the Young Communist League, the youth wing of the former rebels.

But the Maoists have demanded the Prime Minister must step down before it agrees to extend the term of the House.


First Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 23:47

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