Nepali parties begin talks for new govt

Nepal`s Maoist party on Thursday reached out to other political parties to meet a July 7 presidential deadline to form a national government under its leadership, a day after the embattled PM quit.

Last Updated: Jul 01, 2010, 18:21 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal`s Maoist party on Thursday
reached out to other political parties to meet a July 7
presidential deadline to form a national government under its
leadership, a day after the embattled prime minister quit
following months of protests by the former rebels.

Political parties today began consultations to meet
the July 7 deadline set by President Ram Baran Yadav to
recommend the name of a new Prime Minister to form a consensus
government as per the constitutional provision, following the
resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal yesterday.
Main opposition Unified CPN-Maoist, the largest party
in the 601-member Constituent Assembly with nearly 40 percent
seats, today set up a three-member committee led by party
supremo Prachanda to form a national consensus government
under its leadership.

The panel includes hardline leader Mohan Vaidya
"Kiran" and vice chairman Baburam Bhattarai.

The Maoists standing committee today decided to take
initiatives to form a new government under the party`s
leadership. Vaidya claimed that a national consensus
government should be formed under the leadership of the party
to complete the peace process and frame a new constitution.

Senior leaders in the Nepali Congress, the second
largest party in the House, also staked its claim to lead a
new government.

The Maoist party and the CPN-UML, which is heading the
caretaker 22-party coalition, separately held talks to discuss
developments and strategy to form a new government.

The Presidential office today asked the political
parties to suggest a name for post of the Prime Minister based
on consensus by July 7.

If the parties fail to name a Prime Ministerial
candidate of consensus by July 7 then as per the provision of
the constitution the process will start to form a majority
government, a top presidential aide said.

The President accepted the resignation of Nepal
yesterday and asked him to continue as the caretaker Prime
Minister until a new government is formed.
Nepal tendered his resignation after 13 months of
intense pressure from the Maoists to step down. It had
announced its decision to block the budget session of the
Parliament scheduled to be held on July 5 if he did not quit.

The Maoists, who ended their decade-long civil war in
2006, have claimed the leadership of new government as it is
largest party in parliament.

Maoists` party deputy leader Bhattarai, who is seen a
leading candidate to be the next prime minister, said that
only a national consensus government would be able to complete
the peace process.

He said his party will be talking to other parties to
reach an agreement to end the political deadlock as soon as
possible.

The support of at least 301 members is needed to form
a majority government in the 601 member House.

CPN-UML convened its standing Committee meeting today
to discuss fast moving developments following the resignation
of Nepal, who is also the leader of the party.

Nepali Congress leaders have also staked claim to form
a new government.

Ram Chandra Poudyal, party`s vice-president, said the
party would soon hold discussion with other formations as it
is now its turn to form a government under its leadership
after the Maoists and the CPN-UML failed to conclude the peace
process and frame a new constitution by the stipulated
deadline of May 28.
As Maoist and CPN-UML have already formed governments
one after another, now its turn of the Nepali Congress to form
a government under its leadership, Poudyal told PTI.

He said the party would soon hold discussion with
other political parties regarding formation of the new
government.

The name of former premier Sher Bahadur Deuba has been
floated as a Prime Ministerial candidate by a section of the
party.

Although the Maoists have projected its chief
Prachanda as the Prime Ministerial candidate, there is also
growing pressure within the party to suggest Bhattarai`s name
as alternative after the main parties indicated they may not
support Prachanda`s candidature.

The UCPN-Maoist is also 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
before forming a new government.

CPN-UML chief Jhalnath Khanal and senior leader K.P.
Sharma Oli have also suggested that they could provide
leadership to the new government, according to analysts.

A meeting of 22 smaller parties today asked the three
main parties to form a government in which all the 25 parties
with representation in Parliament are included in the new
coalition.

They also asked the Maoists to clear doubts regarding
their commitment to the peace process.

Prime Minister Nepal last month had agreed to step
down as demanded by opposition Maoists after top parties
hammered out an eleventh-hour deal to extend the term of the
Constituent Assembly by one year, averting a major political
crisis in Nepal.

The major parties also agreed to conclude the peace
process and expedite the process of drafting a new
Constitution by forging collaboration.

Political analysts have warned that a delay in forming
a new government could derail the 2006 peace process.

"There will be chaos. All the government`s plans and
policies will be affected," one analyst said.

The Maoists, who waged a decade-long insurgency,
joined mainstream politics after the 2006 peace deal with the
interim government led by G. P. Koirala, won the largest
number of parliamentary seats in the April 2008 elections.

PTI