With the deadline set by the President Ram Baran Yadav expiring on Saturday, Nepal's political parties, engaged in intense parleys, are yet to reach consensus to form a new national unity government to take over from the Maoists.
"The deadline set by the President expires this mid- night and so far no one has claimed to form the new government," said Rajendra Dahal, press advisor of the President.
"If no one approached by mid-night then either the time should be extended or fresh call has to be made for formation of the government on the basis of majority support," he said.
Major political parties were engaged in hectic parleys and strategy sessions but finding a way out of the deadlock before the deadline appeared a near impossibility unless last- minute dramatic changes in the position of parties involved.
The political crisis was sparked by Maoist premier Prachanda's resignation after Yadav blocked his move to sack army chief General Rukmangad Katawal. CPN-UML on Friday decided that it would form a new government with the support of Nepali Congress and other parties.
The Maoists were hesitating to support a government led by former ally CPN-UML and were not ready to join the new government under any other party's leadership. Nepali Congress, the second largest party in Parliament, has said it will back a CPN-UML candidate for the post of prime minister.
Three ethnic Indian Madhesi parties, with a combined strength of 83 seats in Parliament, hold the key to breaking the political logjam as any combine sans the Maoists with need their support to attain the majority of 301 in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.
Madhesi People's Rights Forum, the major Terai group with 53 seats, is holding its crucial meeting today to decide the matter. Insiders said that the party is divided on the issue of supporting the UML.
Sunil Manandhar, General Secretary of CPN-United, said that his party supports a national government with the inclusion of the Maoists as well.
"The party with nine seats, is ready to support the UML in its claim to lead the new government. We prefer that a national government be formed with the participation of all political parties including the Maoists," he said.
UML is also holding its CWC meeting on Friday to discuss the issues relating to formation of the new government. The party is likely to decide as to who will head the coalition if it gets the chance to lead the coalition.
"It is unlikely that we would be able to meet the deadline set by the President to form the new government today," he pointed out.