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Amid chaos, Nepal agrees on national flag

Amid the deadlock among political parties that has stalled the election of new prime minister, Nepal's main parties came together today on the issue of the national flag, agreeing to retain the current symbol.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2011 20:53 IST

Amid the deadlock among political parties that has stalled the election of new prime minister, Nepal's main parties came together on Sunday on the issue of the national flag, agreeing to retain the current symbol.

In a rare instance of unanimity, the three major parties -- main opposition UCPN (Maoist) and the two main coalition partners, Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML -- have forged an agreement to retain the current national flag in the new constitution being drafted by lawmakers.

The top leaders have agreed to retain the same colour, shape and make of the flag. They decided to explain the decision by linking it with the accomplishments of the mass movement that ended the absolute power of the monarchy in 2005, the Kantipur online reported on Sunday.

Nepali Congress leader R C Poudyal, who last week quit the race for the prime minister's post, said there will be no modifications to the national flag. The leaders also decided to confer national recognition to all political parties that participated in the landmark 2008 elections for a Constituent Assembly, the report said.

Poudyal, who had failed to garner a majority even after 16 run-off polls, said the decision was taken in a bid to allow all political parties, including those representing the marginalised sections of the society, to participate in future elections. The meeting finalised the decision on Sunday amid deep differences in the 601-member Assembly, which acts as the country's interim parliament.

The discussions on various issues linked to the framing of a new constitution will continue in the meeting of the 27 parties, the report said. President Ram Baran Yadav has asked the deadlocked parties to form a new government, based on consensus, before January 21 as political leaders stepped up consultations to choose a new prime minister.

The call by the first president of the Republic comes as withdrawal of Poudyal paves the way for a fresh process to elect a new leader.

The UNMIN, which was established by the world body in 2007 to manage the arms and armed personnel of the Maoists and the Nepal Army, ended its special peace mission on Saturday. Amid fears of chaos in Nepal, the waring political parties claimed to have reached an agreement on monitoring the former armed Maoist cadres lodged in special camps overseen by the UN mission.