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Nepal government may fall

Fate of the five-month-old Jhalanath Khanal government in Nepal hangs in balance due to fresh list of ministers submitted by Maoists, the dominant coalition partner.

world Updated: Jul 27, 2011 23:32 IST
Utpal Parashar

Fate of the five-month-old Jhalanath Khanal government in Nepal hangs in balance due to fresh list of ministers submitted by Maoists, the dominant coalition partner.


Khanal’s party Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and opposition Nepali Congress are against induction of new faces, but Maoists are threatening to withdraw support if the PM refuses.


In a bid to douse intra-party differences over power-sharing, on Sunday the Maoist central committee had recalled most ministers and named a new team led by vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha.With Khanal refusing to administer oath of office to the new names and stressing on formation of a national consensus government that includes most parties, the tussle is slowly getting out of hand.

On Tuesday, Maoists had given an ultimatum to Khanal to decide on inducting the new ministers by Wednesday morning. But with Khanal refusing to budge, the party decided to give more time to the PM.Several Maoist ministers like deputy PM and home minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara have already tendered their resignations to make way for the new faces. The resignations are yet to be accepted.

Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) secretary CP Gajurel stated on Wednesday that if Khanal failed to administer oath of office to the new ministers soon, the party would withdraw support. Terming the Maoist move as ill-timed, CPN (UML) leader Pradeep Gyawali maintained that Khanal would choose to tender resignation instead of bowing down to the Maoist demand.

Demanding Khanal’s resignation instead of accepting the fresh Maoist list, Nepali Congress, the largest opposition party, obstructed working of the parliament for the third consecutive day on Wednesday.

In May, the three main parties—Maoists, CPN (UML) and Nepali Congress had signed a five-point deal to extend tenure of the Constituent Assembly by three months to complete the peace and constitution drafting processes.They had also agreed to focus on formation of a national consensus government, but the crucial tasks have taken a back seat due to rift within and among the three parties.

With just five weeks remaining for the August 31 deadline to expire, Nepal is likely to miss another deadline to complete the peace process and get a new constitution.If the present deadlock continues, the Khanal government may fall much earlier than that date.