Maoist-led '20-party federalists' alliance launched



Kathmandu: A 20-party federalists' alliance led by Maoist supremo Prachanda has been launched in Nepal to ensure drafting of a Constitution with an ethnicity-based federal structure, a move aimed at cornering the opposition.

UCPN-Maoist and Joint Democratic Madhesi Front have launched the 20-party Federal Democratic Republic Alliance (FDRA) in order to ensure drafting of a Constitution and to fight "conspiracy hatched against identity based federalism”.

The ruling coalition said the alliance was formed on long term basis holding strategic importance and will continue until the new election.

The alliance was born in view of the need for a new thought and force to give progressive and forward looking political outlet to the country and the people, the policies and programmes of the alliance unveiled yesterday, said.

The alliance is an effort to forge national consensus in favour of ethnicity based federalism and the promulgation of the new constitution, through the Constituent Assembly, the 20 political parties, who formed the alliance, said in a joint statement.

The move is widely perceived as a bid to drive opposition parties, mainly the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML who are often labelled by the parties in FDRA as anti-federalist forces, into a corner and deter them from making moves to dislodge the current government.

"The newly-formed alliance of pro-federalists would not only function as a coalition for the attainment of immediate objectives but also remain active as a long-term strategic partnership," Maoist chief Prachanda, who also heads the alliance, said.

"The Prime Minister's exit is not the solution, the need of the hour is instead to reach an agreement on contentious issues," Prachanda said.

He further claimed that the "PM's exit without first finding an amicable solution would be tantamount to pushing the country into graver crisis."

Prachanda's remarks come in the wake of the demands by main opposition Nepali Congress and CPN-UML for the Prime Minister to step down to pave the way for formation of a national government.

However, Nepali Congress has sharply criticised the formation of the alliance saying that it will be a breach of politics of consensus among parties.

"I consider this unholy alliance among some political parties as a political dishonest," Nepali Congress vice-president Ramchandra Poudyal told a news agency. "This short of alliance is against the politics of consensus which will further aggravate the national problem," he alleged.

Nepal is facing a political deadlock for the past two months after the Constituent Assembly was dissolved by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai without framing the Constitution and fresh elections were declared to take place on November 22.

The opposition parties have been intensifying protests to remove Bhattarai from power saying that his government is unconstitutional and undemocratic, which needs to be replaced by a national government formed on the basis of consensus.

PTI