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Parties seek extension; they get it

KATHMANDU, NOV 29 - In a move that could give efforts to end the political impasse a fresh start, President Ram Baran Yadav on Thursday extended the deadline he set for forging consensus on a common prime ministerial candidate by a week. The President’s move followed a recommendation made by the major political forces—UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha—for an extension of the deadline that ended on Thursday.

The extension now puts to rest the dispute over the constitutionality of the President’s move. While ruling parties had termed the call from the head of state for the formation of a national unity government unconstitutional, opposition leaders had hailed the step.

Major party leaders wasted the week-long deadline over arguments for and against the call. The parties held three-party talks on a single occasion within the past week, while they were unable to officially announce their prime ministerial candidates.

During two-hour-long discussions at Sheetal Niwas on Thursday, top leaders requested the President to extend the deadline and committed that they will hold “serious talks” to hammer out a deal on a consensual candidate to lead the next government. “There is no alternative to consensus among the parties to give a way out to the current deadlock,” CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal told reporters. He spoke on behalf of the four major forces.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sushil Koirala, UML Chairman Khanal and SLMM leader Rajendra Mahato were present in the talks. President Yadav underscored the need of consensus among the parties on a unity government as per Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution to end the impasse and hold elections within the month of Baishak (April-May).

“I have seen no alternative to a compromise among the parties as per Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution. If you have seen any, do suggest me on the way out,” President’s Press Advisor Rajendra Dahal quoted the head of state as saying. Leaders echoed the President, saying that they had no alternative in mind. This is the first time after 2008 that the President formally gave the parties an added seven days to seek an agreement. Earlier, the President’s office has given a timeline of only five days for the parties to strike a deal after the first deadline expired without accord. President’s aide Dahal said the head of state provided an additional two days to compensate the time lost by the parties in the ‘confusion’ generated by the Cabinet’s decision to term the move unconstitutional. He further said President Yadav was ‘fully assured’ of a way out within the new deadline.

Posted on: 2012-11-30 09:14


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