Nepali Congress claims govt leadership as Nepal plans to quit
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Last Updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010, 18:52
Kathmandu: A top leader of the largest party in the ruling coalition Saturday put forward his claim to lead a national government, as the embattled Prime Minister planed to quit amid a standoff over power sharing in Nepal.

Gopal Man Shrestha, the Nepali Congress vice president, said it is the turn of the Nepali Congress to lead the government as both the Maoists and the CPN-UML have already headed governments over the past two years and failed to draft a new constitution.

As both the Maoists and the CPN-UML have already got a chance to lead the government over the past two years and they have failed to draft the constitution, now it is the turn of the Nepali Congress to stake its claim of government leadership, Shrestha underlined.

The political parties are deadlocked over a deal wherby Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had agreed to step down as demanded by opposition Maoists after it agreed to support the extension of the term of the Constituent Assembly by one year on May 28.

The Nepali Congress is largest party in the ruling 22-party coalition, which is involved in a bitter struggle to keep the Maoists away from power. CPN-Maoist, the single largest party with nearly 40 per cent of the parliamentary seats, has claimed to lead a national coalition to rescue the peace process and frame a new constitution.

However, the ruling alliance has reiterated that the Maoist cannot lead the government unless they convert the party into a civilian organisation and return the properties seized during the decade-long insurgency which ended in 2006.

Now it is the turn of the Nepali Congress to claim the government leadership as the Maoists have not yet returned the property they seized during the conflict, dissolved the paramilitary organisation of the Young Communist League and manage their combatants, Shrestha said.

As per media reports here, the embattled Prime Minister has made up his mind to quit according to the three-point agreement reached with the Maoists last month.

Reports here claimed that Nepal was set to resign yesterday but his party colleagues asked him to postpone the resignation.

Meanwhile, the CPN-UML president Jhalanath Khanal hinted that the days of the present coalition led by his party are numbered.

The Prime Minister will tender his resignation very soon as per the three-point agreement, Khanal said, as he accepted that the government had failed to draft the constitution and maintain law and order in the country.

Shrestha said a national consensus government would be able to complete the peace process and draft the new constitution within a year as agreed upon by the political parties.

He, however, pointed out that only a coalition including the Maoists would be able to draft the constitution and conclude the 2006 peace process.

The Nepali Congress leader said his party will initiate dialogue with all parties, including the Maoists, the Terai-based Madhesi and other fringe parties in order to form a new government after the prime minister tenders his resignation.

CPN-UML chief Khanal asked the Maoists to fulfil its promises, including converting its party into a civilian organisation.

He said the Maoists cannot claim leadership of the government unless the party is converted into a civilian organisation by dissolving their youth wing, Young Communist League.

A new government should be formed soon by forging a national consensus, he noted, adding that any political party that can bring about a consensus can claim the leadership of a new coalition.

At the same time, he warned that country will plunge into a catastrophe if consensus cannot be forged to find a way out from the current stalemate.

Political tensions over power sharing have been high in Nepal since a government led by the Maoists resigned last year amid a dispute with President Ram Baran Yadav over the reinstatement of former army chief Rukmangad Katawal, who was dismissed by the Prachanda-led government last May.


First Published: Saturday, June 19, 2010, 18:52

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