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Unity govt in Nepal uncertain

Publication Date : 24-09-2012

 

The formation of a national unity government — a prerequisite for holding fresh Constituent Assembly elections — looks uncertain as both the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Nepali Congress (NC) are adamant on their stance.

Both the parties want a government under them.

As chances of rapprochement between the two forces appear slim, a breakthrough on government formation may not happen at least before the Dashain and Tihar festivals.

The UCPN (M) has come up with a new logic — as the president is an NC man, the new government must not be handed over to the same party. The Maoists say that due to the current power equation, the balance of power could get disturbed and the country would witness another crisis if the NC leads the government.

The UCPN (M) feels that an NC government could “deviate from the CA agenda and impose parliamentary polls.”

Maoist spokesperson Agni Sapkota said on Saturday his party’s claim to the leadership of a new government is legitimate as the UCPN (M) is at the centre of national politics with popular support.

The Maoists want to transform the present government into a unity one by bringing the NC and the UML on board.

If other parties agree to a Maoist government with a leader other than Baburam Bhattarai at the helm, the party will pick Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the PM candidate, Maoist insiders say.

Maoist leaders, however, say there are chances that the party might accept an NC-led government if the Congress agrees in writing to go for CA elections, while also accepting identity-based federalism.

They say they can think of handing over the leadership of the government to the NC only after preparing a “full ground” for holding fresh CA elections.

“If CA elections are fully guaranteed and if NC makes a commitment to that effect, we can go to the people and campaign for the polls by handing over the government to the NC,” a senior UCPN (M) leader said.

And, if a situation arises whereby the government is handed over to the NC, the UCPN (M) will opt for senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba as the leader of the new government, according to the senior Maoist leader. The leader added that the Deuba faction is committed to new CA elections.

The NC, on the other hand, is more rigid on the government leadership than the Maoists. Congress leaders say elections will be free and fair and the international community will endorse the poll results only if the polls are held under the NC government.

“We will not accept a Maoist-led government at any cost,” said NC leader Prakash Saran Mahat.

Other NC leaders echo Mahat on this, but they have gone a step further by urging the President to sack PM Baburam Bhattarai.

While the NC has begun discussions with other parties to mount pressure on Bhattarai to quit at the earliest, some Congress leaders seem confident that the President will sack the PM if the latter refuses to quit.

Still, a major question will arise as to how NC President Sushil Koirala will manage internal differences if his party gets a chance to lead the new government.

Leaders say that if the parties agree on a unity government led by the NC, Koirala himself is likely to take charge or will forward the name of Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel.

An NC leader said Koirala is also positive about forming a “neutral government” led by a civil society representative or a former judge if his chances of becoming the PM start to fade.

 

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