Nepalese Maoists set preconditions to form new govt

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Kathmandu, Jul 25 (UNI) Formation of a new government in Nepal has become more complex after the Maoists have set three conditions.

The formation of government by the Maoists as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA) became uncertain after it rejected Nepali Congress (NC) candidate for the post of President and could not form an alliance with the UML and MJF.

After the defeat of its candidate in the election of the President, Chairman of the Maoists, Prachanda, has proposed that ''the recent alliance of the NC, the UML and the Madhesi People's Rights Forum must end; the Common Minimum Programme of the 25 political parties must feature the majority agenda of the Maoists; and all political parties must give a written commitment that the next government will function unhindered for at least two years.'' The Maoists have 227 seats in the 601-strong CA and the NC candidate won the President's post with 308 votes while the MJF candidate became Vice-President and the UML candidate became Chairman of the CA.

Though it is the largest party in the CA, it has not been able to muster simple majority, so the government can fall anytime until there is an alliance of the three major parties.

''If it was a political alliance, we don't see any point in taking the initiative to form the next government,'' the Kathmandu Post quoted Mr Prachanda as saying during the meeting with the representatives of 25 parties represented in the CA.

His party would choose to remain in the Opposition if there was no consensus on his party's conditions, he added.

''If there is a consensus on our conditions, we are ready to take initiative to form the next government,'' Mr Prachanda said.

However, the NC, the UML and the MJF have said the alliance would not break but expand for the politics of consensus.

The major parties have said that as the largest party, the Maoists should lead the government but it should be a consensus government that is the mandate of the people.

Acting Vice-President of the NC Sushil Koirala told UNI that the need of the country was a government of consensus. ''We have told the Maoists to take initiative to form a new government with consensus,'' he said.

''We cannot write a new Constitution and forward the development agenda effectively without consensus and the Maoists should understand this reality,'' Mr Koirala said.

''The Maoists went out of the political consensus, so we had to field a candidate for the post of President,'' he said.

The NC was firmly determined for unity, understanding and consensus of the major political parties, Mr Koirala added.

Meanwhile, NC President Girija Prasad Koirala has intensified political and diplomatic meetings from today, meeting leaders of various political parties represented in the CA.

He said the politics of consensus cannot move along with the preconditions laid by the CPN-Maoist to lead the next government.

The Maoists forwarded the preconditions without forging a consensus and the new Constitution cannot be made if the political parties do not come to an understanding, Kantipur quoted TMDP Chairman Thakur as saying after meeting Mr Koirala.

The NC President also held consultations with the leaders of Sadbhawana Party.

Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood also met Mr Koirala, who has already resigned to pave the way for the formation of new government, at Prime Minister's residence in Baluwatar.

The current political situation and the formation of new government are learnt to be discussed during the meeting.

President Ram Baran Yadav has started consultations with lawyers, regarding the formation of new government.

UNI XC SKB AS1453

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