Deadlines come, go but issues remain


Three weeks are about to elapse since the President called on the political parties to form a national unity government but the parties have not walked an inch towards consensus.

Inter-party accord is necessary by the end of this month if another Constituent Assembly election is to be held by April/May 2013. But formal cross-party talks are rare as the parties appear busy with internal meetings and deliberations.

Leaders across the party line agree that consensus on unity government formation is unlikely in the near future. As has happened, when the deadline provided by the President expires, parties make an agreement to seek more time for the sake of consensus but they sit for talks only to seek postponement of the due date.

Leaders say informal talks among the parties are under way but there has not been any positive development about ending the stalemate. “There are no issues or agenda for formal talks,” said Maoist spokesman Agni Sapkota. On Monday, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal held a one-on-one meeting but there was no deal.

Sapkota said Dahal was holding informal talks with the chiefs of the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML about breaking the deadlock. Dahal is floating alternatives on government formation but there has not been any substantial negotiation. The relation between the NC and the ruling Maoists has soured after the latter rejected NC President Sushil Koirala as the next prime minister.

NC and UML suspect that Dahal is in favour of continuing with the incumbent government until the party’s general convention slated to begin on February 2. While, Maoist leaders say, the situation has been complicated as the NC and the UML backtracked on the already agreed upon issues of constitution.

“In the last meeting, NC and UML

leaders said there had not been any

agreement on the form of governance, which has raised serious doubts over their intention regarding the new constitution,” said Sapkota.

Maoist leaders say there should be a guarantee of new CA polls and ownership of the issues of constitution resolved earlier to discuss power-sharing. NC leaders

maintain that it would be against popular aspirations to make an agreement on

contentious issues of the new constitution as parties have already decided to seek a fresh mandate.

The party has said that the tasks to amend the Interim Constitution and electoral laws should be done in the present government’s tenure. However, NC and UML say that only a unity government is eligible to make legal and constitutional amendments. NC’s interlocutor Krishna Prasad Sitaula said there has not been any substantial dialogue among the parties for consensus.

Posted on: 2012-12-11 08:24