KATHMANDU, DEC 21 -
The possibility of the Nepali Congress immediately leading a new national unity government diminished further on Thursday, with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai reiterating his stance that his government must be turned into a consensus one first.
According to PM Bhattarai, such a government could then pave way for a new one, but only if the Nepali Congress sorted out outstanding constitutional issues and election-related tasks and allowed him to declare the elections.
Addressing a press conference in Baluwatar, the prime minister yet again ruled out handing over the leadership of the new government to the Congress, without the NC first meeting his conditions. Bhattarai instead suggested that a new government could be led by a member of the ruling coalition, in case the NC and the UML refuse to come under his government.
It was not immediately clear what the official position of the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA) was, with aides to both UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Bhattarai making conflicting claims.
Earlier in the day, a meeting of the FDRA concluded that the first priority of the ruling coalition would be to transform the Bhattarai-led government into a national consensus one. Still, Dahal suggested that the alliance remain open to a change in government leadership if that helped overcome the political impasse, hold polls and take the political process forward.
Bhattarai insists that the official position of his party is to either have a government led by his own party or, failing to do that, find a suitable candidate from within the ruling coalition. The Dahal faction, on the other hand, maintains that the party must remain open about the government leadership as long as the political process moves forward and that early elections should remain the party’s top priority.
“If I step down without the elections being guaranteed, a crisis will hit the country,” Bhattarai said. PM Bhattarai dismissed claims made by Dahal that the parties are inching closer to that end.
“There may have been some progress in informal cross-party talks, but nothing substantial has come out of it,” said Bhattarai.
Posted on: 2012-12-21 08:24