Nepalese parties struggling to avert constitutional crisis

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 23:11

Kathmandu: With just three days remaining
for the expiry of the term of the Constituent Assembly,
Nepal`s major political parties are struggling to avert a
political crisis, with the former rebels threatening to block
an extension of the parliament.

Nepal`s major political parties, Nepali Congress,
CPN-UML and the Maoists have agreed to continue their dialogue
to sort out differences, though their meeting ended
inconclusively without reaching a consensus on extension of
the term of the CA which may lead to a constitutional crisis.

The former rebels threatened to block an extension of
the Nepalese parliament over the issue of resignation of the
Prime Minister, a move that could plunge the country into a
leadership vacuum.

The Maoists have reiterated their demand for the Prime
Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal`s resignation before extending the
term of the CA, where the ruling parties NC and CPN-UML have
asked the Maoists to first determine the number of combatants
to be integrated and work out modalities for army integration,
according to Nepali Congress general secretary Bimalendra
Nidhi.

The Maoists should not link the extension of the CA
terms to the Prime Minister`s resignation, he said.

The resignation of the Prime Minister should rather be linked
to the formation of a consensus government, he said.
Maoist spokesman Dinanath Sharma said that they are in
favour of extension of the CA term but before that a consensus
should be reached among the political parties.

He said the Prime Minister should first resign and the
issue of who should lead the government can be negotiated
later on. Earlier, the Maoists have been pressurising the
ruling parties to form a new government under the leadership
of party chief Prachanda.

Now, they are leaving the matter as to who should lead
the new government to negotiations. Now the Maoists seem to be
ready even to consider soft-liner Vice-president Baburam
Bhattarai, to lead the new government, sources close to the
Maoists said.

Our preference is to form a national consensus
government under the Maoists` leadership but we are ready for
negotiation regarding the matter of leadership, Sharma said.

The ruling alliance and the Maoists have agreed to
meet again tomorrow to forge a consensus to resolve the
current crisis and to extend the term of the Constituent
Assembly.

Observers point out that the Maoists being the largest
party with their command over one third seats in the CA will
be at disadvantage in case the CA term is not extended.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 23:11

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