Nepal: Maoists, NC at loggerheads over governance

The NC, however, said the demand was ridiculous and could not be accepted.

Kathmandu: Batting vehemently for a
presidential form of government in Nepal, a senior Maoist
leader has warned that the peace process would not move ahead
unless the Nepali Congress agrees for a directly-elected
president vested with all executive powers.

UCPN-Maoist politburo member Janardan Sharma said his
party would not vacate the cantonments where the Maoist
combatants are confined or hand over weapons unless the second
largest party in the Constituent Assembly supports the idea.

Speaking at an interaction here, Sharma said the NC`s
disagreement with semi-presidential rule that would give
executive power both to the President and the Prime Minster
has aroused questions over the party`s stance on statute

"The peace process will not move ahead until the NC comes
clear with this issue," he said.

The NC, however, said the demand was ridiculous and could
not be accepted.

"We cannot accept such a ridiculous demand, which goes
against the seven-point deal reached among the major political
parties," said Nepali Congress central member Bimalendra

He said the arms and the combatants of the Maoists should
come under the control of the Nepal Army at the earliest.

The largest party in the Constituent Assembly, the
CPN-Maoist, and the second largest grouping, the Nepali
Congress, have been at loggerheads over the issue of the
system of governance to be adopted by Nepal.

While the NC has proposed that all executive powers be
vested with the prime minister and the president should be a
ceremonial head, the Maoists are for a presidential form of

On November 1, the Maoists and the major opposition
parties, including NC, had reached a seven-point deal which
includes among other things integrating 6,500 Maoist
combatants into the national army and returning the properties
seized by the former rebels during the conflict.

Nidhi said the Maoists` latest threat to stall the peace
process if there was no agreement on a presidential system was
a matter of concern.

Meanwhile, senior leaders of major political parties are
holding talks to discuss issues related to a delay in the
peace process and expediting the process of drafting of the

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has also admitted that
the issue of system of governance has led to a deadlock in the
constitution drafting process.

"This difference between the two major parties over the
system of governance has led to a deadlock in the constitution
writing process," Bhattarai said while speaking at his home
Town Gorkha yesterday.


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