KATHMANDU: Top Nepalese leaders Friday intensified consultations to end a political deadlock amid fears of a constitutional crisis, with the term of the country’s interim parliament set to end Saturday.
Leaders of CPN UML and UCPN-Maoist, the two largest party in the communist-led coalition along with the main opposition Nepali Congress have started a fresh round of talks after a deadlock in the morning.
Prime Minister, Mr Jhala Nath Khanal, Maoist chairman Mr Prachanda and Nepali Congress President Mr Sushil Koirala were among top leaders seeking to end the standoff amid growing concern over the uncertainty in Nepal’s peace process and failure of the political parties to agree on a consensus to promulgate a new constitution by the May 28 deadline.
Over the last few weeks, they have persistently failed to forge a consensus to push forward the 2006 peace process. The Communist-led coalition government has registered a constitution amendment bill in parliament proposing a one-year extension for the 601-member assembly, but the opposition parties have set preconditions for their support.
The opposition parties have asked the Maoists to rehabilitate their former PLA combatants, return the seized property and dismantle their paramilitary youth wing, Young Communist League, so that a consensus can be built on drafting a constitution and concluding the peace process. They have also demanded the formation of a national government.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Assembly could be extended only for six months, as against the government’s decison for a one-year extension. Amid growing fears of a political vacuum and a constitutional crisis, President Mr Ram Baran Yadav yesterday held consultations with top leaders, including the Prime Minister, Mr Prachanda and Koirala.