Nepal Prez restricts Bhattarai's role to caretaker PM



Nepal Prez restricts Bhattarai`s role to caretaker PM Kathmandu: Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav on Tuesday restricted Baburam Bhattarai's role to a caretaker Prime Minister even as major parties demanded the premier's resignation to pave the way for the formation of a national consensus government to end the raging political crisis.

Citing the Interim Constitution, the President has directed Bhattarai to perform the day-to-day affairs of the state as a caretaker prime minister till the other council of ministers is formed, the President's office said in a statement.

Bhattarai's Constituent Assembly membership has also ended with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the statement added.

The president has also asked all the political parties to move ahead through consensus in view of the current political crisis in the country, the statement said.

The president's statement was issued after a series of consultations he held with senior lawyers and office bearers of Nepal Bar Association.

Earlier, Bhattarai called on Yadav in the morning and held discussions regarding the current political situation, press adviser of the President Rajendra Dahal said.

Bhattarai has claimed he enjoys full executive powers while recommending fresh election for the Constituent Assembly on November 22.

The Prime Minister's recommendation to hold fresh election on the said date has been challenged by major political parties including Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, which have questioned its constitutional legitimacy.

A joint meeting of 14 political parties today representing the dissolved Constituent Assembly issued a statement asking Bhattarai to quit to pave way for formation of a national government.

"The caretaker Prime Minister has no right to announce the election without consulting the major political parties representing the Constituent Assembly and the recommendation was unconstitutional as there was no provision for holding another Constituent Assembly poll in the Interim Constitution", the statement said.

A draft constitution was already prepared and there was little work left for accomplishing the task of drafting the constitution, when the Prime Minister let the Constituent Assembly and the Parliament be dissolved, said Gopal Man Shrestha, senior Nepali Congress leader, who was also present at the meeting.

"This government has no legitimacy and it is totally unconstitutional so we will ask the President to immediately dissolve the caretaker government and form a national consensus government with the inclusion of all major political parties", he said.

The caretaker government is incapable and has no authority to hold another election, Shreestha said quoting the statement.

Prime Minister Bhattarai's move to let the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and the Parliament without drafting the Constitution has created a political vacuum in the country which is unfortunate, the statement said.

The fourteen political leaders who were signatory to the statement included President of Nepali Congress Sushil Koirala, Chairman of CPN-UML Jhala Nath Khanal, leader of Rastriya Janashakti Party Prakash Chandra Lohani and general secretary of CPN-Marxist Leninist C P Mainali.

Shrestha said they will hand over the statement to the President asking to take appropriate steps for finding a way out from the current stalemate.

Meanwhile, CPN-UML has issued a statement urging the President to form a national unity government by dissolving the Bhattarai government.

PTI