Prachanda rejects oppn demands for PM's resignation
Kathmandu: With the opposition baying for Baburam Bhattarai's resignation, Nepal's ruling Maoist chief Prachanda today warned that the country will plunge into catastrophe if the Prime Minister quits before resolving the vexed Constitution-drafting issue.
"It is completely wrong on the part of the opposition parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML to ask the Prime Minister to step down before agreeing on the key issue of the Constitution," Prachanda told to a news agency.
"Political consensus is essential among the parties at this moment as there is no representative body in the country after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly," he said.
The 601-member Assembly, which had been extended four times since 2008, was dissolved on May 27 after parties failed to reach consensus on whether to adopt federal structure based on single ethnic identity or multi-ethnic identity.
Bhattarai has called fresh elections on November 22, after years of deadlock over the issue of a new Constitution.
Prachanda, also former prime minister, warned today that the country will plunge into catastrophe if Bhattarai resigns, leaving a power vacuum.
There is no alternative to building consensus among parties other than holding fresh elections for the Constituent Assembly or promulgating the Constitution through any other means, he said.
"Bhattarai and our party are prepared to quit the government after forging consensus among political parties," Prachanda promised. "First of all it is important to forge consensus on the contentious issue of the Constitution."
Prachanda offered a package deal under which the Maoist government would quit through an agreement among political parties.
"The Prime Minister can only step down if all the political parties agree to a package to draft the Constitution by sorting out key issues and resolving other matters, including formation of a national government," Prachanda said.
It is illogical to abandon the government first and then agree to the Constitution, he added.
Once the political parties agree to sort out contentious issues and all the matters regarding Constitution-making are resolved, the Prime Minister will be ready to quit, he said.
It is important to agree to the issue of identity-based federal structure before asking for resignation of the Prime Minister, Prachanda said.
The opposition's demand for Prime Minister Bhattarai's resignation will only invite bigger political crisis, he said.
To a question, Prachanda said "if political parties agree, then the Constitution can also be promulgated on the basis of consensus."
"Both election and reinstatement of the dissolved CA should be based on political consensus among parties," he said.
"Our party has pursued the idea of holding fresh election for the CA and we believe that the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly should promulgate the Constitution by forging consensus among the parties on the issue of federal structure," Prachanda said, adding that "then the CA can be transformed into Parliament."