Nepal parties fail to make progress on govt formation
Last Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2010, 22:32
Kathmandu: Nepal's political parties failed to make any progress in setting up a national government as a key meeting of the three main parties did not take place on Saturday amid deepening differences between them.

A crucial meeting of the three major parties -- main Opposition UCPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), the key alliance partners in the caretaker government-- to discuss the formation of a consensus government was postponed after CPN-UML president Jhalanah Khanal expressed his inability to attend the meeting.

The deadlocked parties are struggling to meet an extended July 12 deadline set by President Ram Baran Yadav to suggest a name for the post of the Prime Minister based on consensus.

Nepalese parties failed to meet an earlier July 7 deadline after prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal quit on June 30 following months of protests by the former rebels.

Instead of attending the three party meeting, Khanal went to a gathering to mourn the death of a local party leader, who was allegedly killed by the Maoists on Thursday.

Chhabi Lal Karki, a district-level leader of the CPN-UML, was allegedly killed during a Maoist attack in Okhaldhunga district in eastern Nepal.

The CPN-UML has decided to organise a nationwide protest to expose the brutal activities of the Maoists, who have been accused by the other parties of indulging in violent activities and intimidation.

The police have arrested three suspects in connection with the murder of Karki.

The Maoists have denied any link to the killing of the UML leader.

The Maoists, who ended their decade-long civil war in 2006, are under pressure from Nepali Congress and CPN-UML to dissolve the paramilitary organisation of its youth wing, the Young Communist League, return seized property and to finalise the numbers and the timeframe for the integration of its former combatants with the security forces.

The Maoists and the CPN-UML are deadlocked over the issue of leadership of a new coalition. The former have claimed the right to head a new government as it is largest party in parliament with nearly 40 percent of the seats.

However, senior leaders in the Nepali Congress, the second largest party in the House, have also staked its claim to lead a new government, leading to a political deadlock in the country.

The United CPN-Maoist party today announced a three-month time schedule to manage and integrate their former combatants and to dissolve the paramilitary structure of the Young Communist League, the youth wing of the party.

Maoist Vice chairman Narayankaji Shrestha unveiled the time bound integration and rehabilitation of the combatants in the capital on Sunday.

He said all 19,000 combatants confined in various cantonments under the supervision of the United Nations will be brought under the Army Integration Special Committee within two months.

Then they will be placed in two separate camps after seeking their views whether they wanted to join security forces or to return to normal life through the rehabilitation process.

Those interested to join the army will be integrated in the national army within a month.

The Maoists have also agreed to dissolve their paramilitary organisation of the YCL and return the land and property they seized during decade-long insurgency to their rightful owners as per the demand of the major ruling parties.

However, the alliance partners in the caretaker government has said they cannot accept the Maoists' leadership at present even after they agreed to integrate and rehabilitate their former combatants.

We cannot accept a government headed by the Maoists at the moment, said Ramchandra Poudyal, the Nepali Congress vice-president and hopeful for the post of the prime minister.

As the Maoists agreed to manage their combatants and dissolve their paramilitary organisation, they can join the government headed by other parties, he pointed out.

They will qualify to head the government only after their party is converted into a civilian one by actually implementing all the past agreements related to the peace process, including returning seized property and dissolving their paramilitary organisation, he said.

Political analysts here see no possibility of the formation of a consensus government as the time for setting up of such a coalition was running out.


First Published: Saturday, July 10, 2010, 22:32

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