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Prez gives parties a week to seek PM candidate

KATHMANDU, NOV 23 - • Parties now need to find candidate to lead unity govt by Thursday 

• Prez office says move a bid to seek accord

Six months after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA), President Ram Baran Yadav on Friday called upon political parties to come up with a consensus candidate within a week to lead a national unity government.

In a statement, the head of state appealed to the parties to recommend such a candidate as per Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution by 4 pm on Thursday.

This is the first time the President has set an official deadline for the parties to end the protracted stalemate.

“..despite repeated consensus attempts, there has been no political and constitutional way out for the selection of a prime minister,” the statement issued by the President’s Office said. It added that the President has taken such a move “in accordance with his constitutional responsibility.”

The President’s Office has dispatched a formal letter to the PMO and Council of Ministers and the Parliament Secretariat.

The move comes a day after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai addressed the nation and expressed willingness to make “all kinds of sacrifices” for national consensus.

After failing to keep its promise to hold elections on November 22, the Maoist-led government had on Tuesday said the elections would be held in the month of Baisakh (April-May).

The President’s Office believes that the latest move is a continuation of efforts to seek a political settlement that began after the budget ordinance got a presidential nod on Tuesday.

Though opposition leaders had voiced their reservations over the budget endorsement, they are learnt to have maintained a ‘close communication’ with the President on a larger political give-and-take.“The budget approval, the PM publicly stating his readiness to step down and now the President’s call for a national unity government are a chain of events that aims to offer a solution to the ongoing deadlock,” said President’s Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal. He said the new initiative will “constitutionally, legally and morally bind parties to arrive at a consensus.”

He noted that President Yadav has taken into confidence key political actors, including Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, before making such a move.

Earlier, the President had intervened after the CA’s dissolution on May 27. He had written a letter to the government on May 29, reminding the latter of its caretaker status. Sources at Sheetal Niwas claimed that the President has now concluded that the beleaguered PM is all set to resign and that he will not be an obstacle to a new government. President’s aides would not speculate on what the head of state’s new moves would be in case the parties fail to find a common PM candidate. Article 38 (2) of the constitution says that a majority government can only be constituted through the parliament.

The President feels that flexibility from opposition leaders and their ability to agree on a common candidate will also play a crucial role in ending the uncertainty, a presidential aide said.

In Friday’s public statement, President Yadav noted that his several talks with political leaders post-May 27 had failed. He said his “collective and individual talks” with the parties, the government and their leaders were in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling that stressed on the need to fulfill people’s aspirations for a new constitution through a Constituent Assembly.

Posted on: 2012-11-24 09:30

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