With just five days left for Nepal's warring parties to put aside their long enmity and form a new government supported by all, the UN has sounded a note of concern and asked rivals to bury the hatchet.
"Following the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, secretary-general (Ban Ki-moon) encourages all parties in Nepal to intensify their efforts towards the formation of a consensus government that would prioritize the implementation of all peace process commitments," the UN chief's office said in a statement issued from New York late Thursday.
The UN also urged for speedy progress on the fate of the opposition Maoist party's guerrilla party, a thorny issue that led to the fall of Nepal's first Maoist government last year and has been a stumbling block to the peace process.
The UN is calling for the integration and rehabilitation of over 19,000 combatants of the Maoists' People's Liberation Army, who have been leading a life of confinement since 2006, when the guerrillas signed a peace accord and ended their 10-year war.
With the prime minister resigning on Wednesday after a protracted battle with the Maoists, Nepal's President Ram Baran Yadav gave the 25 parties in parliament a week to select a new premier who would be supported by all of them. The deadline for a consensus prime minister ends on Wednesday.
However, that seems a miracle with the three major parties - the Maoists, Nepali Congress and the outgoing PM's Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist - continuing to lay claim to the post and refusing to support candidates from other parties even on Friday.
To complicate things further, each of the three parties has two sets of claimants, triggering rivalries inside the parties as well as with other parties.
Now the 22 minor parties are also striving to have a say in the new government. They told the big three on Friday that the new candidate would have to be approved by them as well.
The race for the premier's post has revived memories of the wheeling and dealing two years ago when the Maoists formed a majority government after failing to woo all the parties.
The government lasted for only nine months, leading to yet another round of wheeling and dealing for a new prime minister. Now the same spectacle is being enacted for a third time even as time starts running out for the directionless republic.
Nepal needs to promulgate a new constitution by May 2011, having already failed a deadline in 2010.
Due to the bickering among the parties, it has already lost more than a month but is yet to resume work on the new constitution.