Crisis deepens in Nepal as deadline for consensus govt expires



Kathmandu: Nepal on Wednesday plunged into deeper political crisis as the third consecutive deadline given by the President to the parties to form a national consensus government expired, leaving the future of the crisis-ridden state in a limbo.

President Ram Baran Yadav had three weeks ago asked political parties to form a national unity government through consensus to replace the caretaker government headed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

The deadline issued by the President was extended twice but very little progress had been made so far to form the national consensus government. Nepali Congress has projected its president Sushil Koirala as the new prime ministerial candidate after the UCPN-Maoist and CPN-UML had asked the party to name its candidate to head the national government.

However after the Nepali Congress nominated Koirala as the prime ministerial candidate the Maoists have asked the party to show a road map to draft the new constitution before agreeing to form the national government led by Koirala. Koirala was backed by CPN-UML to lead the national government.

A series of meetings held among the major political parties for the last 2-3 days failed to make any headway on the formation of the national unity government even as the twice extended deadline given by the President expired today.

Meanwhile, Maoist chairman Prachanda today called on President Yadav at the Rastrapati Bhawan and discussed the latest political situation.

During the meeting Prachanda asked the President to extended the deadline by a few more days, claiming that political parties were inching closer to a deal, according to sources close to the president's office.

Nepal plunged into political and constitutional crisis after Bhattarai dissolved the Constituent Assembly without promulgating the Constitution in May.

The political crisis further deepened after the elections announced by the Prime Minister could not be conducted on the stipulated date of November 22.

President Yadav has called political parties at the Rastrapati Bhawan tomorrow morning for consultation.

Also today, US Ambassador to Nepal Peter W Bodde met CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal and expressed concern over the ongoing political stalemate.

Bodde has asked political parties in Nepal to move forward by forging consnsus and offered US assistance to the upcoming election to be held in Nepal.

PTI