Top Nepali leaders hold talks on contentious political issues



Kathmandu: Seeking a solution to the political deadlock in Nepal, top leaders of the three major parties held a meeting here to discuss the contentious issues of Constitution drafting but the talks ended inconclusively.

The meeting of the top leaders of UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML was held on Saturday at the residence of CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal.

"The top leaders discussed issues ranging from peace process to constitution drafting and from federal structure to the forms of governance", Nepali Congress sources said.

Citing the meeting as a 'positive one', the political leaders have vowed to continue the talks, media reports said.

However, not much progress was made during the talks as both the ruling and the opposition parties stuck to their respective stances, the party said.

Maoist chief Prachanda, who also attended the talks, expressed hope that the contentious issues in constitution writing would be resolved in a couple of days. "The meeting of the major political parties would hammer out a deal within a day or two to end the protracted political crisis in the country," Prachanda said talking to journalists.

Prachanda also said that the Baburam Bhattarai-led government would not be an obstacle to the formation of a consensus government.

He called the leaders to stress on the need of forging consensus rather than asking for the Prime Minister's resignation.

This was the first time top leaders of the major three parties have discussed the contentious issues since May 27 when the Constituent Assembly (CA) was dissolved.

Though the parties had reached an agreement on almost all the key issues of the constitution, they had failed to find a consensus model of federal structure. While the UCPN-Maoist and other parties were in favour of single-ethnicity based federal model, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML were for federating the country into multiple-ethnicity-based federal model.

This difference had led to dissolution of the CA without promulgating the Constitution three months ago.

Speaking to media persons at the Janakpur Airport today, Prachanda said that the three-party meeting was seriously discussing various alternatives, reinstatement of the Constituent Assembly or holding fresh election, to rescue the country from the current stalemate.

"We will discuss about holding the CA election if no consensus could be forged on revival of the Constituent Assembly," Prachanda said.

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

PTI