No end to political deadlock in Nepal amid fears of turmoil
Last Updated: Saturday, May 22, 2010, 23:44
Kathmandu: Nepal's political parties failed to end the deadlock, which is pushing the country towards a constitutional crisis, as the Maoists on Saturday refused to cooperate in extending the term of the Constituent Assembly till the Prime Minister steps down.

Leaders of the three major political parties -- the CPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the prime minister's Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) -- met each other but failed to reach an agreement to extended the term of the Constituent Assembly beyond May 28 amid its failure to promulgate a constitution.

Top CPN-Maoist leaders, including party chief Prachanda, today held dialogue with Nepali Congress acting president Shushil Koirala, but failed to reach an agreement.

The Maoists demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister before extending the term of the Assembly, said Bimalendra Nidhi, Nepali Congress general secretary.

Nepal has refused to quit under pressure and asked the Maoists to implement past agreements to create an atmosphere of trust in the country.

The 22-party ruling coalition has introduced a bill in the 601-Assembly to extend the term of the House for one year so that it can finish the task of framing a new constitution.

CPN-Maoist party, with nearly 35 percent of the parliamentary seats, have refused to cooperate in extending the Assembly till the Prime Minister steps down.

Without the Maoists support, the ruling coalition would be unable to garner the two-thirds parliamentary vote required to get the proposal approved by the House.

Faulting the Maoists for the deadlock, he said the extension of the Assembly's term is in no way related to the Prime Minister’s resignation.

If the Maoists are honest in implementing the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, they should endorse the extension of the Assembly, he underlined.

We told the Maoists that we can discuss the issue of resignation of the Prime Minister and formation of national consensus government through a package deal, Nidhi told PTI.

He said the former rebels should first agree on the number of combatants to be integrated and rehabilitated, return the seized property, dissolve their paramilitary organisation in the Young Communist League and express commitment to a democratic, federal republic constitution before we may consider their demand.

Experts fear that the country will plunge into a political crisis if the term of the House is not extended.

The country will be dragged into an abyss from where it is difficult to come out if the Assembly’s tenure is not extended before it expires on May 28, said Nilambar Acharya, president of the Constitutional Committee that is entrusted to draft the document.

The issue of extending the term of the House should not be linked to any other demands, he underlined. Jhalanath Khanal, president of the CPN-UML which is heading the coalition government, said that the political parties were working to reach a consensus in order to resolve the current political impasse.

A national consensus government will be formed whenever a consensus is reached among the political parties, he added.

He, however, ruled out the possibility of dissolving the current coalition government before May 28.

Political tensions 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 in May 2009.

The standoff has put new stresses on Nepal's reconciliation efforts amid fears that the stalled peace process may be derailed if the Maoists refuse to cooperate in extending the term of the Assembly, which is set to expire by the end of the month.


First Published: Saturday, May 22, 2010, 23:44

comments powered by Disqus