Nepal parties deadlock over peace process

Kathmandu: Amid the deadlock over Nepal's peace process, political parties on Thursday stepped up the blame game for the failure to conclude the reconciliation effort and draft a new constitution for the country.

The ruling UCPN-Maoist slammed the opposition parties for obstructing the 2006 peace process.

"The government has failed to gain momentum as the opposition parties did not extend support to complete the twin tasks of concluding the peace process and drafting of a new constitution," Haribol Gajurel, the member of the central committee of the party, said at a programme in the capital today.

However, the main opposition Nepali Congress party blamed the government for not showing sincerity towards the peace process.

Ram Sharan Mahat of the Nepali Congress said the Maoist- led coalition government and its partner Madhesi Morcha have completely failed due to its opportunist character.

CPN-UML leader Shanker Pokharel accused Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of deliberately delaying the peace process and statute drafting.

Prakash Chandra Lohani, the chief of the Janashakti Party, blamed the Maoist for the failure conclude the peace process.

It claimed that it has not shown any seriousness towards implementing seven-point agreement reached among the major political parties to expedite the peace process.

The parties have been deadlocked over the integration of the former rebels into the national Army, stalling the progress in the peace process.

Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have asked the Maoists to settle the controversial issue relating to integration of the former Maoist guerrillas into the military, which is a key component of the peace process, before drafting a new constitution for the country.

The Maoists and other major parties had agreed to integrate a maximum of 6,500 former rebels into the security forces as part of the agreement.

However, the opposition parties have rejected en masse integration of the former Maoist guerrillas into the military and underlined the need to integrate them on individual basis as per the norms and standard of the Army.

The opposition leaders have warned that unless the Maoists are prepared to dissociate themselves from the former guerrillas there is no possibility of drafting the constitution within the May 27 deadline.

The peace process has also been stalled amid the failure of the political parties to agree on the form of governance and federal structure.

The Maoists emerged as the single largest party following the landmark Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 and are leading their second coalition government.