With major political parties unable to arrive at a consensus after week-long parleys, Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav Wednesday gave them additional time till July 12 to forge a unity government.
The presidential office issued a notice asking political parties to form a consensus government by July 12, extending the deadline that expired today by five days, Rajendra Dahal, press adviser to the president, said.
Earlier, the president had called the political parties to suggest a consensus candidate for Prime Minister by July 7, following the resignation of Madhav Kumar Nepal on June 30 in the wake of persistent protests by the opposition Maoists.
The political parties, including the UCPN-Maoists, Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and others have held parleys since then to discuss government formation but consensus has eluded them.
The fresh notice was issued today after a meeting of representatives of two dozen political parties made a formal request to the President's office for extension of the deadline.
However, a meeting of the three major parties held today at Singhdurbar Secretariat building failed to reach any agreement regarding formation of a consensus government.
The meeting was attended by Maoist chairman Prachanda, Nepali Congress acting president Shushil Koirala and UML president Jhala Nath Khanal.
Succumbing to intense pressure from the opposition Maoists, Madhav Kumar Nepal quit the prime minister's post on June 30 after 13 months in power, to make way for a "consensus" national government.
The Maoists had been demanding for months that he step down to facilitate the formation of a new national government led by them. They had announced their decision to block the budget session of the Parliament scheduled to be held on July 5 if he did not quit.
The President accepted the resignation of Nepal and asked him to continue as the caretaker Prime Minister until a new government is formed.
The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have rejected the prospect of formation of a Maoist-led government until the former rebels agree to manage their combatants and dissolve their notorious youth wing, the Young Communist League.
CPN-UML has projected the party's president Jhalan Nath Khanal as their prime ministerial candidate.
Nepali Congress is yet to decided its own prospective candidate and has to choose between former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Parliamentary Party leader Ramchandra Poudyal as its candidate for the top post.