Nepal Prez sets Aug 21 deadline for national govt

President Ram Baran Yadav set an August 21 deadline for the political parties to form a national unity government.

Kathmandu: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Tuesday set an August 21 deadline for the political parties to
form a national unity government after Prime Minister Jhala
Nath Khanal quit, blaming his key ally Maoists and the main
opposition party for the deadlock in the country.

The president initiated the process for the formation of
a new government soon after Khanal stepped down yesterday amid
weeks of intense pressure from the Nepali Congress and
UCPN-Maoist for his failure to push forward the peace process.

Yadav directed the political parties to form a consensus
government by August 21, President`s Office said.

Khanal was asked by the president to serve as the
caretaker Prime Minister after accepting his resignation,
Yadav`s press advisor Rajendra Dahal said.

There will be an election in the parliament for the
majority government as per the interim constitution if a
national consensus government is not formed within the given

61-year-old Khanal, who headed a fragile coalition of
three parties, blamed the Maoists and the Nepali Congress for
the political deadlock, including the failure to make tangible
progress on the peace process and drafting of a new
"Nepali Congress should have supported the government,
but they didn`t," Khanal told lawmakers in a special address
to 601-member Constituent Assembly, which functions as the
country`s interim Parliament.

"Maoist also could not support the government on peace
process (according to) as my expectations," said Khanal,
ending his 6-month 9-day long tenure as the 34th Prime

The caretaker prime minister warned that there would be
no national consensus if they stick to their stance.

"If Maoist couldn`t be practical and if Nepali Congress
remained adamant on their demand for their leadership in
government, national consensus can`t be formed," Khanal said,
a day after he quit.

"Despite my continuous effort until the last minute, I
Couldn’t ensure tangible progress in peace process by the
deadline that I had set," he told lawmakers of different
parties who has stepped up consultations to form a new

Khanal said his administration was able to bring the
Maoists on board at a time when the former rebels were
sidelined from power.
He said he had "resigned to pave way for forming a
national consensus government that would be instrumental in
concluding the peace process and drafting of a new

"I became PM for national consensus," he said, adding

"And, I am resigning for the same."

"I became PM for national consensus," he said. "And, I am
resigning for the same."

CPN-UML leader Khanal, who was elected prime minster on
February 3 after 17 rounds of polls in Parliament, had said
earlier this month that he would resign if there was "no
concrete" progress on the 2006 peace process.

Khanal`s coalition is the shortest Communist government
in the country. Khanal served for just over six months in
power, making his government the shortest that has ruled the
country in the last decade.

Nepali Congress, Khanal`s key ally Maoists and the
Terai-based Madhesi Front had mounted intense pressure on him
to honour his commitment to step down as part of the May 29
five-point deal he had signed while extending the term of the
Assembly on May 28 by three months.
The parliament, formed in 2008 after a popular election,
has failed to fulfill its main function to draft a new
constitution though its term was extended twice, the latest on
May 29 which is set expire in end of August.

The Maoist party, who led a decade long insurgency till
2006, and the Nepali Congress have claimed the right to lead a
national government.

The UCPN-Maoist, the single largest party in parliament
has 238 seats and the CPN-UML has 108 seats in the Assembly,
which acts as the country`s interim Parliament. The second
largest Nepali Congress has 114 members in the House.

The Maoists have projected its Vice Chairman Baburam
Bhattarai as the next prime ministerial candidate. They have
stepped up consultations with other political parties to put
together a national government.

Nepali Congress, the centrist party, is yet to decide
whom to back amid claims by both former Prime Minister Sher
Bahadur Deuba and Parliamentary Party leader Ramchandra
Poudyal, who was the party candidate in the last round of

The failure to put together a national government will
deepen the political crisis as the term of the Assembly is set
to expire later this month and it is unlikely that a new
constitution will be drafted within the period.

Integrating the 19,000 former Maoist guerrilla forces
into the national army is one of the key sticking points in
the stalled peace process, with military leaders and the
Nepali Congress resisting the move.


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