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Crisis looms large over Nepal peace process

world Updated: Apr 20, 2010 17:20 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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A major political crisis looms over Nepal with just 38 days remaining for the country to adopt its new constitution and the three major parties differing on an end to the peace process.

Leaders admit that the constitution is unlikely to be drafted within the May 28 deadline and efforts to build a consensus among the two major ruling parties—Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) and the main opposition UCPN (Maoist) have failed to yield any result.

In an attempt to dislodge the present government, the Maoists have begun training thousands of cadres across the country for a ‘decisive war’ that threatens to derail the peace process.

Thousands of Maoist cadres plan to shutdown the capital on May 28 and promulgate the constitution from the streets. While party leaders maintain that it would be a peaceful act, doubts persist.

The parliamentary party of CPN (UML) on Monday concluded that the constitution won’t be adopted within deadline and hence the term of the Constituent Assembly be extended.

“The constitution can’t be drafted within May 28 at any cost,” stated CPN (UML) chairman Jhalanath Khanal without mentioning for how long should the CA term be extended.

On the other hand, Nepali Congress, the other major party in the ruling coalition, has suggested holding of fresh elections if the CA term can’t be extended or the constitution drafted on time.

“We should either extend the CA term or go for fresh poll is the constitution is not drafted by May 28,” said NC General Secretary Bimalendra Nidhi at a function on Monday blaming the Maoists for the delay.

To add to the chaos, on Monday Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Gachchadhar who is also the chief of Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum (Democratic), another key constituent of the ruling coalition, suggested holding of fresh polls if the constitution deadline is not met.

According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2006, the term of the CA can be extended by six months in case of an emergency like a natural disaster or war.