UK to hold key meeting of top Nepalese leaders to end crisis
Last Updated: Saturday, October 30, 2010, 23:13
Kathmandu: The UK, which is one of the biggest economic donors of Nepal, is holding a key meeting of top political leaders in London to end the standoff over the election of a new prime minister that has stalled the 2006 peace process in the country.

Britain's Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition government has invited senior leaders of the main Opposition UCPN-Maoist and the two key partners in the caretaker government, Nepali Congress and CPN (UML), for a meeting in London, the nepalnews online reported today.

Maoist vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Nepali Congress General Secretary Prakash Man Singh and CPN-UML Secretary Bishnu Poudel will leave for London tomorrow on a five-day trip, the report said.

This is probably for the first time that a major donor country is hosting the senior leaders of the three big parties together. "They are to apprise the British leaders of the constitution-writing and peace process," it said.

In London, the Nepalese leaders are expected to meet top UK leaders, including ministers, opposition party members and business heads.

Shrestha's assistant Shital Kaji was quoted as saying the Nepali Congress leader is expected to meet parliamentarians and government officials.

Shrestha will also visit Belgium and France after the the UK trip, the report said.

The visit of the top Nepalese leaders comes amid the constitutional deadlock that has put the country on the brink of a financial crisis, as officials warned that the government would be unable to pay civil servants and run essential services if the delayed budget is not passed by mid-November.

Four months after the 22-party coalition led by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal collapsed, 14 rounds of elections in Parliament have so far failed to elect a new leader.

The Parliament approved an interim budget to allow the caretaker government to run day-to-day activities for four months and pay civil servants, but that expires on November 16.

Finance ministry officials have warned that the country would face a severe financial crisis if the budget is not passed in the two weeks.

Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudyal, the sole candidate who is adamant over not quitting the prime ministerial race, failed to garner a majority in Parliament yesterday, prolonging the leadership crisis in the country.

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

"There will be chaos. All the government's plans and policies will be affected," an expert said.


First Published: Saturday, October 30, 2010, 23:13

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