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Nepal president urges parties for political agreement

Publication Date : 06-08-2012


President Ram Baran Yadav yesterday urged leaders to revive politics of consensus by striking at the earliest “a new political agreement” that will end the current constitutional deadlock.

The president held a joint meeting with top leaders of all 27 parties represented in the disbanded Constituent Assembly (CA) and said it is the responsibility of the political parties to strike a new deal.

He further said that the delay in doing so could lead the country to serious constitutional, economic and administrative crises.

President’s Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal said Yadav expressed concerns about the protracted stalemate. He also was concerned about the parties’ inability to hold elections declared for November.

“The president told us that he wanted to see an agreement with a way forward in our hands when we visit him next,” Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told reporters after the meeting.

“We will try our best to strike a deal as soon as possible.”

During the five-hour-long discussions, Dahal said the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist [UCPN (Maoist)] was game for any of the two alternatives — holding fresh elections or revival of the CA — to end the current stalemate.

Reviving the CA by reaffirming the commitment to implement the five-point agreement on federalism and power sharing signed on May 3 could be the easiest option, according to Dahal.

Dahal said the parties should seek a fresh mandate through another CA elections if there is no agreement on CA reinstatement.

However, the ruling coalition partner, Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, was divided on the CA reinstatement idea and on whether polls should be held for the CA or a new parliamentary body.

Chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar said CA election was the best option.

“In every democratic country, there are periodic elections. We have already spent five years following the Constituent Assembly elections, hence there is no alternative to conducting fresh elections,” said Gachchhadar.

Also the deputy prime minister and home minister, Gachhadar added that the parties must strike an accord on constitutional and legal basis for holding polls before forming a national unity government.

Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato said the assembly could be revived for a "brief tenure" if parties reach an agreement.

Opposition parties said Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai must step down to create an atmosphere for a new agreement. Top leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) argued that the stalemate prolonged as only two forces — the UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhesi Morcha— "occupied the government seat".

“Resignation of the prime minister is our first priority,” said NC Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Poudel. “We can then find an amicable solution on the basis of our previous understandings.”

Party leaders have said the seven-point deal on integration of People's Liberation Army combatants signed on November 1, the five-point agreement signed on May 3 and an informal understanding on constitutional issues at the Dispute Resolution Subcommittee of the CA could guide the parties in their bid to end the impasse.

NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba said his party suggested the President play an active role in ending the deadlock.

UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said they do not want the President to step in to unseat the government.

“We want to bring down the government on the basis of consensus among the parties,” Khanal said.


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