KATHMANDU, FEB 10 - With a view to ensuring elections by the end of May, major opposition parties, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, have decided to remain open to all options, including the formation of a chief justice-led election government.
In a meeting at the UML headquarters in Balkhu on Sunday, the two parties also decided to ask Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to come up with a concrete proposal of government formation. For that, they decided to hold ‘decisive talks’ with the ruling UCPN (Maoist) on Monday.
Opposition party leaders, however, did not say what they meant by ‘decisive talks,’ a phrase used by them very often in the past. The two-party meeting ‘deliberately’ did not take any official position on the Maoist party’s fresh proposal to form an election government led by the sitting chief justice.
According to leaders, the UCPN (Maoist) would flatly say no to any official position they might take, resulting in futile talks.
“We want to discuss everything on the table, instead of taking a stand, because we want to ensure early elections,” a senior NC leader who attended the two-party talks said. According to leaders, the opposition parties are also open to an independent government led by both former and sitting justices and a civil society member if that guarantees elections. Chances of agreement on such a government are high if the ruling parties demonstrate flexibility, opposition leaders said.
Second rung leaders of the opposition parties are opposed to the new Maoist proposal. Sunday’s meeting also entrusted NC President Sushil Koirala and UML President Jhala Nath Khanal with the responsibility of taking decisions during their ‘decisive talks’ with the ruling party on Monday.
The four parties—UCPN (Maoist), NC, UML and Madhesi Morcha— are scheduled to hold talks at the President’s office on Monday.
On Saturday, the head of state told top leaders of the major parties to find a consensual prime ministerial candidate by Monday.
“We want decisive talks with the ruling parties to end all confusions and the protracted dialogue process,” said NC Central Working Committee member Ram Saran Mahat, adding that they will ‘test the honesty’ of the Maoist party on holding elections.
Me ready too: Bhattarai
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai also said he is ready for all options, including a neutral candidate to lead an election government. Bhattarai called on President Ram Baran Yadav on Sunday and told the head of state that his party thinks the government led by the sitting chief justice will be a less controversial option.
“All decisions should be taken by the parties, I would be happy to accept a government led by any party leader. I would also not have reservations if there is agreement on a neutral candidate,” he said. “There has been no agreement despite our nine-month-long efforts. I strongly feel that there will not be much controversy on the government led by the sitting chief justice.” Bhattarai said the chief justice-led government could be the ‘last alternative’ as the judiciary is an impartial and independent institution. President Yadav is learnt to have told the PM that he was ready to accept ‘any candidate decided by the parties as the next prime minister.’ The President also stressed on the need for a cross-party deal to ensure early elections.
Posted on: 2013-02-11 09:29