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
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
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.