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Nepal Fails To Form A Consensus Gov't, Political Impasse Continues
Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-12/14/c_132041320.htm
Source Date: Friday, December 14, 2012
Focus: Health
Country: Nepal
Created: Dec 14, 2012

KATHMANDU, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Nepali President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav's third call to political parties to form a consensus government that would hold election in May next year expired last Wednesday when the parties again failed to meet the deadline because of internal squabbling and in-fighting among themselves, signaling the political impasse in Nepal continues.

Time and again, President Yadav has said that he has no political ambition and that his role is limited to facilitating the political transition from a caretaker government to an elective one.

"I used to tend buffaloes. I'm an ascetic and I'm only the custodian of the constitution. It is pointless for the parties to be afraid of me," the president said.

Since Nov. 23, he has been calling for the country's political parties to form a consensus government that would supervise an election next year based on Article 38 (1) of the constitution.

But the parties were unable to name a common candidate who could be the next prime minister to supervise next year's scheduled election.

Among all players, Prachanda, chairperson of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, has emerged as the most effective leader in Nepali politics during the past five years.

However, some people have been disappointed with Prachanda because sometimes his actions do not match his words. For example, immediately after the first call of the president, he said he was in favor of a government that would be led by a new figure.

But after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who is also from the Maoist party, complained about this, Prachanda took a U-turn and said Bhattarai would continue to lead the government and other parties should join it to give it an all-party shape.

The Madhesi parties, which are part of the incumbent government, have, of late, come up with a bizarre demand for a new "package deal" on the contents of a new constitution.

In a meeting with their coalition partner, the Maoists, on Wednesday, the Madhesi parties demanded that such package deal should be made as a pre-condition for forming a new government.

It is noteworthy that the 601-member Constituent Assembly (2008- 2012), elected to draft a new constitution, failed in its bid even after four years of hectic discussions. Some analysts are saying that the Madhesi parties should stop asking for "difficult conditions" just to save their ministerial posts.

Two major opposition parties, Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal -Unified Marxist Leninist, have been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Bhattarai but have no vision or road map on what will be the next step after that.

They are delighted that the president has been, within the constitutional limits, pulling the leg of the government, but are not sure if they will reap the benefits of the change.

Meanwhile, some royalist forces are waiting that the post-2006 Republican scenario would expire one day so that they can have their chance to return to power.

The existing interim constitution has been amended a number of times and it can be done again through an ordinance to accommodate the provision for an election body.

"There is no provision for an electoral body, neutral or whatever, in the existing constitution," Raju Chapagain, a constitutional lawyer at the Supreme Court, told Xinhua.

"But this clause can be incorporated in the constitution, if the parties first sign a political agreement to this effect," he said.

On Dec. 13, upon request of the political parties, the president has given a fourth deadline of five days to them to forge a consensus. But if they again fail, Nepal will continue to be mired in a political quagmire in the days ahead.
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