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Accord elusive, Prez pressed to extend deadline yet again

KATHMANDU, DEC 11 - As President Ram Baran Yadav’s third deadline to pick a consensual prime minister expires on Wednesday, the divided parties are unlikely to arrive at a political consensus in the near future, thus missing out on yet another presidential call.

President Yadav, who is extensively holding talks with party leaders to resolve the stalemate, is going to extend the deadline yet again. “He will give additional four or five days to the parties to arrive at a consensus,” said a source at the President’s office.

The President finds himself in a politically delicate position as the parties repeatedly fail to pick a consensual prime ministerial candidate and the head of state has a hard choice to make. A section of the political parties want him to sack the prime minister, while there is a general consensus that such a move would be unconstitutional and push the country headlong into political confrontation.

Some Congress leaders and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the President “invited this embarrassment for himself by his own doing.”

On Tuesday, the President Yadav held talks with Chairman of UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal and Chairman of CPN-Maoist Mohan Baidya to explore possibilities for a breakthrough. “The ball is in the parties’ court,” said Press Adviser to the President, Rajendra Dahal, putting the onus on the parties, and away from the President. “Unless parties come to a consensus, the President will keep on calling for one. The President after all made the call upon the request of the parties.”   

Senior Nepali Congress leaders said “no concrete solution is in sight, and chances of political consensus on disputed issues are slim.”

 “Congress should focus on elections, rather than seeking premiership at this juncture. It was a ploy from the Maoist party to demand a prime ministerial candidate from Congress,” said Gagan Thapa, an NC youth leader.

“The guessing game and confusion will continue for another couple of weeks and I do not see any breakthrough,” said senior Congress leader Dr. Shekhar Koirala.

 If parties fail to find a common ground, the April/May elections will be unlikely, thus favouring the continuity of Bhattarai in Baluwatar, say party insiders.

“Should that happen, conflict among the parties will escalate further and the resolution of the problem could be put off until our party’s General Convention,” said the Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha.

The UCPN (Maoist) GC, which takes place in February, is expected to institutionalise the recent split in the Maoist party and give a definite direction to the party’s ideology, tactics and future leadership.


Posted on: 2012-12-12 08:35

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