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Nepal president 'ready' to act if parties fail
Publication Date : 01-10-2012
Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav yesterday said he is ready to take “necessary steps” if political parties of the country fail to arrive at a compromise and end the current political deadlock.
The President invited leaders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties at his residence and expressed dissatisfaction over their failure to negotiate a new deal even four months after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA).
He said the country should no longer be “held hostage” and stressed the need of agreement to hold CA elections for a second time.
“If parties cannot strike agreement, they should tell me how and when I should make a move. I am ready to act accordingly,” the President’s Press Advisor, Rajendra Dahal, quoted Yadav as saying.
“The parties must bear the responsibility of such a move and they cannot shy away from that and make populist remarks,” Yadav added.
The statement from the head of state comes as parties engage in a spat over the leadership of a new government that would hold fresh elections. The deal okayed by top leaders of the three major parties—Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML)—and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha on September 19 to hold fresh CA elections has failed to materialise following the dispute on the candidate that would lead a national unity government.
NC and UML leaders have been asking the president to take a tough stand against the Baburam Bhattarai-led caretaker government.
The UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhesi Morcha leaders have said they cannot accept an NC-led government as that will make both the president and the PM from the same party.
During the five-hour-long interaction with 18 parties, Yadav said leaders must not be engaged in “doublespeak” and must remain committed to hammer out a deal on a national unity government and next elections.
The president congratulated party leaders for concluding the process of integrating former Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army and said they should drive the constitution making process to a conclusion in the same manner.
Yadav further urged the parties not to engage in activities that would invite a confrontation and delay efforts to reach a new agreement. The comment was targeted at the opposition parties’ decision to launch nationwide protests to unseat PM Baburam Bhattarai.
Yadav told the leaders that the timing was not good for such an agitation.
Top leaders of the three major parties and the Madhesi Morcha held a separate meeting at Sheetal Niwas after the interaction with the president. The leaders agreed to start formal talks on Monday and strike a deal within two weeks.
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said parties will reach an understanding on national unity government, date of elections, size of the CA and the process of amending the Interim Constitution tentatively by mid-October.
Leaders said the four forces will prepare a proposal of consensus today that will be tabled in an all-party meet scheduled for tomorrow.
A Cabinet minister, who attended Sunday’s meeting, said there are no indications that the parties will reach an understanding within the fresh deadline set by them.
Senior CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Rastriya Janashakti Party leader Surya Bahadur Thapa said the president must act “tough” and call for the formation of a national unity government.
Leaders of the Madhesi Morcha countered it, saying that the president should not take any action that will invite a controversy lest he should suffer the same fate as that of deposed king Gyanendra.