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Nepal parties to hold ‘decisive talks’ today

Publication Date : 25-07-2012


To break the current political impasse, three major political parties of Nepal — Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninst — will hold "decisive talks" today in their attempt to form a national consensus government.

Opposition leaders of the NC and the UML have said they will reiterate their demand for Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to step down as a precondition for consensus in the scheduled talks.

“Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai must quit for consensus and end the protracted deadlock. We will jointly raise the issue in the meeting,” said UML Vice-chairperson Bam Dev Gautam.

Wednesday’s meeting is being held at the request of Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who, on Tuesday, approached top NC and UML leaders and urged them to sit for talks.

Top leaders of the two parties then gathered at the UML headquarter in Balkhu to hammer out a common  position. The leaders said they would redraft their protest strategy in case the PM refuses to quit.

The NC and the UML concluded that the incumbent government and its leader, PM Bhattarai, stood against their consensus bid and that he must quit to end the impasse.

“The current government is the only obstacle for now and as such, the prime minister should be removed without delay,” said NC General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula. Sitaula said they were ready to pick their prime ministerial candidate within 10 minutes of the parties forging consensus.

Gautam said that though he was not much aware of the agenda of Wednesday’s meeting, his party will not agree to anything until Bhattarai agrees to step down.

Sources close to the UCPN (Maoist) have said that their leadership will put on the table the issue of fresh CA elections with reduced number of lawmakers, amendment to electoral laws and the Interim Constitution and change of guard.

UML leaders have asked the NC to either intensify street protests to topple the government or take initiatives to lead a consensus government without delay.

In the meeting between the two parties, NC leaders drew the attention of UML leaders on their statement that their party is ready to field a candidate to lead a new government in case the NC fails to come up with its candidate on time.

Amid some UML leaders saying that KP Oli could be fielded as the PM candidate if the NC fails to have one, senior UML leaders asked the NC leaders not to take the issue seriously.

“Although some leaders have said so in their speeches, it does not represent our party’s position,” UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal said.

Both the parties have decided to reject the government’s bid to introduce ordinances to amend electoral laws and hold elections. “A caretaker government has no right to announce and conduct the elections without considering the legal hurdles and any election under this government is not possible,” UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said.

The nitty-gritty

•Opposition parties to call for PM’s resignation

•To oppose ordinances for electoral laws’ amendment

•UML asks NC to either intensify street protests or take initiatives for unity govt

•Maoists to propose CA elections


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