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Govt, Maoists close to a deal on interim Constitution

After several delays and days of wrangling, Nepal Govt and Maoists said they were very close to a pact on an interim constitution.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 19:39 IST

After several delays and days of wrangling, Nepal government and Maoists on Friday said they were "very close" to a pact on an interim constitution that would pave the way for the guerrillas to join the cabinet.

"We are very close to a deal and the interim statute is expected to be finalised today," said Rajendra Mahato, general secretary of Nepal Sadbhavana Party.

"We hope that a consensus would be reached on the draft interim statute on Friday."

The comments came ahead of a high-level meeting of the eight parties including the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) to seal key issues related to the interim Constitution, including whether King Gyanendra would continue as head of state during the interim period before Constituent Assembly polls.

The meeting to be held in Prime Minister GP Koirala's Baluwatar residence was postponed on Thursday.

"We are very close to giving final shape to the interim constitution despite some minor differences among the seven parties," said Maoist negotiating team coordinator Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

The Seven-Party ruling alliance has already stripped the King of most of his powers through a Parliament Declaration in May 18.

However, the Maoists have said they want to strip Gyanendra of his title immediately and name a temporary head of state.

"The talks on the interim constitution are in the final stage and it's taking long time as all the parties are seriously engaged in sorting out differences," Nepali Congress Central member Arjun Narsingh said.

First Published: Dec 15, 2006 19:39 IST