Nepal opposition for national govt before House term extension

Nepal’s opposition parties on Saturday stepped up pressure on the government for the formation of a national coalition.

Updated: May 14, 2011, 20:36 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal’s opposition parties on Saturday stepped up pressure on the government for the formation
of a national coalition and the rehabilitation of the former
Maoist guerrillas before they agree to extend the term of the
parliament, which expires in two weeks.

The coalition led by Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal
on May 12 registered a constitution amendment bill in the
601-member Constituent Assembly, which acts as the country`s
interim parliament, proposing a one-year extension for the
House, amid its failure to promulgate a constitution by the
May 28 deadline.

The opposition parties have demanded the setting up of
national consensus government to settle issues such as the
integration of the Maoists combatants with the security forces
before they agree for the extension of the term of the

Ramchandra Poudyal, the Vice President of the main
opposition Nepali Congress, said the process of integration
and rehabilitation of the Maoists combatants and scrapping of
the seven-point pact between Khanal and Maoist chief Prachanda
were essential before extending the the Assembly`s term.

The process of integration of the Maoist combatants
must be completed prior to May 28, he underlined after his
meeting with the Prime Minister on Saturday.

The government needs the support of the opposition
parties for extending the term of the House as it does not
have the required two-thirds majority for the endorsement of
the bill.

Political parties in the country are deadlocked
over some of the key issues of the 2006 peace process,
including the fate of the former Maoist combatants, amid
demands by the ex-rebels for their en masse integration with
the security forces.

A row had erupted in February over a "secret" seven-
point pact between Prachanda and Khanal that reportedly
included provisions such as sharing the Prime Ministerial post
between the communist leader and the Maoist supremo on
rotational basis and forming a separate unit in the Nepal Army
for the integration of the former Maoist combatants with the

Rajendra Mahato, president of Terai-based Sadbhawana
Party, said the term of the Assembly should not be extended
prior to formation of a national government.

He said the peace process must be taken to a positive
conclusion and the issues relating the Maoists arms and armies
must be settled and consensus must be reached on drafting
a constitution that would guarantee a federal democratic
republican system before we agree on extension of the House

He warned that the Madhesi parties will launch an
agitation if the government turns a deaf ear to their demands
for constitutional rights of those living in the Terai plains
bordering India.