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Another deadline as unity eludes Nepal

world Updated: Dec 08, 2012 00:50 IST
Utpal Parashar

Two weeks ago the ongoing political and constitution crisis in Nepal seemed headed for early resolution with President Ram Baran Yadav stepping in with a deadline to all parties.

But when parties failed to agree on a consensus prime minister to head the national unity government even after expiry of two deadlines, he had no option but to extend the time limit further on Friday.

"With leaders of parties seeking more time for consensus on naming a prime minister and a cabinet headed by him, the President has extended the earlier deadline till December 12," said a release issued by Yadav's office.

The President took the decision after a meeting with chairman of ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda at his official residence on Friday morning.

Though all parties have agreed to intensify efforts at consensus within the new deadline, the hardening of stances by the ruling Maoist-Madhesi coalition and opposition could delay that from happening.

On Wednesday encouraged by positive signs from Prachanda, Nepali Congress named its president Sushil Koirala as candidate for the prime minister's post. But a day later Maoists set new conditions.

The ruling coalition now wants a package deal on all issues including holding of next elections and filling of vacancies in constitutional bodies before stepping down for formation of the unity government.

The main opposition parties--Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) ---are unwilling to relent and want Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to quit first.

And as the country doesn't have a parliament since May, the President doesn't have much option than urging parties to resolve the crisis soon and extending the deadline further if they fail to do that within time.