Nepal President holds key meeting to end political crisis

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - 21:59

Kathmandu: Nepal`s President Ram Baran Yadav on Tuesday held a key meeting with top political leaders in a bid to end the political crisis over the formation of a new government, amid fears of a financial chaos in the country.

The country has been in political limbo since the June
30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, which has
stalled Nepal`s peace process and further delayed the annual
budget, sparking fears of a financial crisis in the country.

Nepalese parties have been unable to elect a new
leader despite a series of polls since Nepal quit under
intense pressure from the Maoists.

Maoist chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress president
Sushil Koirala and CPN-UML president Jhala Nath Khanal were
present in the meeting held at the Presidential House.

The president urged them to initiate political
dialogue among the parties to build a consensus to end the
political crisis in the country, according to sources close to
Nepali Congress.

During the meeting today, Prachanda and Khanal asked
Nepali Congress to withdraw 65-year-old Ram Chandra Poudyal
from the Prime ministerial race as he has failed to garner a
majority even after 12 rounds of election in a row.

However, Koirala told the leaders and the president
that his party will not withdraw his party`s candidate until
there is a complete understanding on key political issues,
including who will be the next prime minister.

Meanwhile, political parties have managed to find a
common ground on nine of 11 contentious issues being discussed
by the Constituent Assembly Committee on System of Governance.

The meeting has resolved nine of the 11 major disputes
on drafting a new Constitution, according to Minister for Law
and Justice Prem Bahadur Singh.

The taskforce of top political leaders, however, are
yet agree on the new electoral system and whether to adopt the
presidential or the Westminster model.

"We will enter into the issues of system of governance
and electoral system in the next meeting," Singh said.

Maoists are pitching for an executive presidential
system and unicameral parliament while Nepali Congress (NC)
and CPN-UML and other parties are for an executive prime
ministerial system with ceremonial role for the head-of-state.

Prachanda and Khanal are members of the key task
force, which was formed to expedite the drafting of a new
constitution.

Even though the Constituent Assembly has set May 2011
as the new deadline for completing the task of framing a new
constitution, the political parties remain deadlocked over the
formation of a new government.

For an unprecedented 12th time in a row, Nepal`s
Parliament last week failed to elect a Prime Minister
rejecting Poudyal.

He remains the sole candidate for the top post, but is
adamant over not quitting the race despite the boycott of the
process by Maoists and CPN-UML.

The next round of election has been scheduled for
October 26.

The Nepal Maoist, who have 238 seats, CPN-UML with 109
MPs and the three main Terai-based Madhesi parties having
nearly 80 lawmakers have been staying away from the election
process as they want formation of a national government.

Nepali Congress has ruled out the possibility of
forming the next government under the Maoists` leadership till
the former rebels lay down their arms, integrate their
combatants with the security forces and dissolve the
paramilitary organisation of their youth wing, Young Communist
League, so that the peace process could be completed.

Poudyal is the only candidate in the fray following
the withdrawal of Prachanda after his deal with the CPN-UML on
September 17 in a bid to facilitate the formation of a
national consensus government.

Prachanda, the 55-year-old former Prime Minister,
failed to get majority support in Parliament seven times in a
row, forcing him to withdraw from the race.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - 21:59

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