PM warns of `serious crisis` in Nepal
Last Updated: Friday, May 21, 2010, 19:42
Kathmandu: Nepal's Prime Minister on Friday warned of a serious crisis in the country if the term of the Constituent Assembly is not extended beyond May 28 amid its failure to promulgate a constitution.

A serious crisis will emerge if the term of the Constituent Assembly is not extended as the constitution will not be promulgated within the May 28 deadline, Madhav Kumar Nepal said.

Nepal, who is under pressure from the Maoists to step down, asked the Maoists to implement past agreements to create an atmosphere of trust in the country.

The standoff with the Maoists can be ended if they cooperate in the integration and rehabilitation of their former PLA combatants, the CPN-UML leader said.

There is dispute between the government and the Maoists over the fate of the 19,000 former guerrillas who have been housed for three years in camps monitored by the United Nations.

The Maoists want their en masse integration into the army while the ruling coalition dispute the actual number of the former guerrillas, saying it is much less than that shown by the former rebels. The non-Maoists party are against the en masse integration of the PLA combatants as it could politicise the neutral Army.

The political parties are struggling to find a consensus to extend the term of the 601-member Assembly that is set to expire on May 28 without fulfilling its key task of framing a constitution.

Chairman of the Constituent Assembly Subhash Nemwang also warned that the country will plunge into a political and constitutional crisis if the term of the Assembly is not extended.

He said there is the danger of an authoritarian regime emerging in the absence of the popularly elected representative body.

CPN-UML president Jhalanath Khanal has also underlined the importance of extending the term of the Assembly.

The 22-party ruling coalition has introduced a bill in the 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.


First Published: Friday, May 21, 2010, 19:42

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