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Nepal's first Prez dons peacemaker mantle

world Updated: Jul 27, 2008 21:00 IST

With his election sparking a fresh spat between the Maoists and other groups, Nepal's first president Ram Baran Yadav on Sunday projected himself as a peacemaker in his maiden speech, appealing to parties to form a government of "consensus" soon and end the political logjam.

"I hope the new government which is going to be formed soon will work in consensus and include all the political parties and bring policies and programmes that will benefit all," the 60-year-old leader from the ethnic-Indian Madhesi community said in a nationally televised address.

Yadav said there was no "alternative other than maintaining our politics of consensus and reconciliation to bring the peace process to its logical conclusion", apparently referring to heartburn caused by his election after the Maoist candidate was defeated by him with the joint support of his Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (United-Marxist Leninist) and Madhesi groups.

The Maoists had staked claim to form the government after emerging as the biggest party in the April 10 Constituent Assembly election but inter-party wranglings have stalled their plans.

He thanked the Nepalese people for taking an "ordinary person like him, who hails from a farmer's family, to the highest post of the country" and vowed to work for the betterment of the people by playing the role "of a coordinator of all sides".

Amid the unrest in the Terai where Madhesi groups are demanding autonomy and the latest wave of anti-Hindi protests, Yadav said "there is a need to maintain unity among the people of Terai, Hill and Mountain for building the nation".