Nepal parties fail fourth presidential deadline on consensus



Kathmandu: Another deadline expired in Nepal Monday without any resolution in sight to the country's prolonged political crisis as consensus continued to elude the main political parties over who would lead a new government.

A series of meetings held among top leaders of the major political parties over the past 4-5 days ended inconclusively, in what are clearly worrying signals for a country that has been dogged by deep political divisions.

This was a fourth deadline laid down by President Ram Baran Yadav, asking the political parties to reach a consensus over government formation and recommend a consensus candidate for prime minister.

The parties are yet to agree to name a prime minister who would lead the consensus government.

The Nepali Congress which met this evening accused the Maoists of having spoilt the environment with Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai declining to step down.

After a high-level meeting held at Nepali Congress President?Sushil Koirala's residence at Maharajgunj, the party said the Prime Minister and UCPN-Maoist were mainly responsible for derailing the politics of consensus.

"We were about to reach a deal on the formation of a new government but the Prime Minister has declined to step down," said Nepali Congress vice president Ramchandra Poudyal.

The Prime Minister was hesitant to accept a new government under the Nepali Congress leadership, he charged.

Earlier in the morning, informal talks were held among Maoist chief Prachanda, CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Nepali Congress General Secretary Krishna Prasad Situala in an attempt to sort out differences on key issues including formation of a consensus government.

The parties may once again ask for extending the deadline for the elusive consensus.

PTI