Maoists soften stand, to reach consensus for president

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Kathmandu, June 13 (UNI) Maoist leaders have softened their stand regarding the appointment of the first president and said the political parties will appoint a new president on the basis of consensus.

Earlier, they had claimed the post of President, Prime Minister and other important ministries in the new government. However, senior Maoists leader Baburam Bhattarai yesterday said, ''The political parties would be able to find a way out of the present political stalemate to form a consensus government.'' After meeting Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, he said, ''The need of the hour is to forge a consensus to write a new constitution. We have been flexible to seek understanding among the parties.'' He said Mr Koirala was positive to find a way out of the present deadlock before the third sitting of the Constituent Assembly scheduled for June 18.

He said Mr Koirala would not be a ''stumbling block'' in the formation of the new government.

Nepali Congress has proposed Mr Koirala as the first president but the Maoists wanted an indepenent individual with some leftist background for the post.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhattarai said the royal palace massacre would be probed.

''Former king Gyanendra must cooperate with the inquiry to prove his innocence in the tragic incident,'' The Himalayan Times quoted Mr Bhattarai as saying.

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