Nepal Prez extends deadline to form consensus govt



Kathmandu: Nepal's warring political parties on Thursday got more time to name a consensus Prime Ministerial candidate after President Ram Baran Yadav extended the deadline by a week.

The president has extended the term of forming a consensus government till December 6, according to the president's press advisor Rajendra Dahal. Earlier last week, the President had called political parties to recommend the name of a consensus candidate for Prime Minister and a cabinet headed by him by November 29.

The president issued the notice of extending the deadline after holding a crucial meeting with leaders of major political parties.

"The President was very much optimistic that the political parties would be able to reach a consensus on forming a new government within the extended deadline," Dahal told PTI after the meeting.

President Yadav today held meeting with the top leaders of four major political forces including Maoist chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and Sadbhawana Party president Rajendra Mahato.

During the meeting, the top leaders requested the president to provide few more days to reach agreement on forming a consensus government, according to Sadbhawana Party leader and Health Minister Mahato.

"We had tried to reach consensus to form a new government but no agreement was reached in the matter, thus we need more time for discussion," he told PTI. The week long deadline issued by President Yadav to political parties to suggest name of a consensus candidate of the Prime Minister ended this evening.

Main opposition Nepali Congress and CPN-UML along with other fringe parties have welcomed the move.

The opposition have been exerting pressure on Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to step down to pave way for forming a national government.

A cabinet meeting headed by PM Bhattarai had last week denounced the president's move to call for formation of a national government terming it as breach of the provisions of the Interim Constitution.

Hectic consultations are underway within and among the major political parties in an attempt to reach consensus on formation of a national unity government since last week.

Nepal has plunged into a constitutional and political deadlock since May 27 when the Constituent Assembly was dissolved without drafting a new constitution.

The political crisis has further deepened in the Himalayan republic after Premier Bhattarai failed to keep his promise of conducting fresh election to the Constituent Assembly on November 22 with a view to promulgating the constitution.

PTI