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Political parties struggle to form new govt

Nepal's main political parties failed to reach an agreement to form a new coalition government by Wednesday, missing a deadline set by the president after the prime minister abruptly resigned.

world Updated: Jul 08, 2010 11:35 IST

Nepal's main political parties failed to reach an agreement to form a new coalition government by Wednesday, missing a deadline set by the president after the prime minister abruptly resigned.

The three main political parties will urge President Ram Baran Yadav to extend the deadline for the new government's formation, said Narayankaji Shrestha of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Yadav had set Wednesday's deadline after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned last month.

"We are continuing negotiations with other political parties but we need more time to reach an agreement," Shrestha said. Maoists, the former communist rebels, are seeking to lead the new coalition government as their party has the most seats in parliament, and they want their chief to become the new prime minister.

The two other parties, Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), also want their leaders to be the next prime minister.

Nepal resigned on June 30, bowing to months of pressure from the Maoists, who demanded his ouster in parliament and in street demonstrations.

Nepal took the post of prime minister in May 2009 after the previous government led by the communists resigned following differences with the president over the firing of the army chief. In May, the Maoists called a general strike that shut down the nation for more than a week. Street demonstrations turned violent with clashes between communist supporters and police. The communists signed a peace agreement in 2006. Since then, they have confined their fighters to UN-monitored camps and joined mainstream politics, winning the most seats in 2008 elections. Maoist rebels fought government forces from 1996-2006, a civil war that left an estimated 13,000 people dead.