Political breakthrough in Nepal amid differences over NSC

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Kathmandu, Jun 25 (UNI) Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) in Nepal has achieved a major breakthrough in the ongoing political logjam by agreeing to elect Prime Minister, President and Vice-President through a simple majority of the Constituent Assembly (CA) but differences continue to persist over the composition of the National Security Council (NSC).

SPA, the conglomerate of political parties, which was at the centrestage of democratic movement in the Himalayan nation and instrumental in declaration of republic on May 28, agreed to enforce all past agreements and pacts yesterday for peace within 15 days and manage the Maoist weapons and combatants within six months, but decided to leave the task of new power-sharing in the hands of the newly-elected CA.

The parties, however, could not iron out differences over composition of the National Security Council (NSC) and decided to settle the issue through voting in the CA.

The government will table a constitution amendment bill at the CA today, for a fifth amendment in the 17-month old statute.

''As the leading opposition party leader Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala will propose, among other things, a provision for the main opposition leader's presence in the security council,'' Nepali Congress Spokesman Arjun Narsing was quoted as saying by Kantipur yesterday. ''The other parties will present their positions on the issue at the assembly if they have any differences,'' he added.

''Since we thought the deadlock should not continue any further, we decided to present ourselves allong with our differences over the issue of the National Security Council,'' he said.

''All the other issues were resolved unanimously,'' Maoist leader Dev Prasad Gurung said his party would table an amendment proposal related to composition of the NSC and vote against the PM's proposal during clause-wise voting.

''The Business Advisory Committee will decide the procedure but we will stand against that particular provision,'' he said.

He also informed that the Maoist ministers who have already quit the cabinet will not attend the cabinet meeting. ''I think the proposal will be tabled by the Cabinet Secretariat on behalf of the government, so there is no need for a cabinet meeting.'' MORE UNI XC SZ KN1050

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