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Maoists invited to form govt

Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala invites the Maoists to head the next government, reports Anirban Roy.

world Updated: May 25, 2008 02:18 IST
Anirban Roy

Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Saturday invited the Maoists to head the next government, nearly one-and-a-half months after the Constituent Assembly election.

Koirala, also the acting head-of-the-state, asked Maoist chairman Prachanda to form the new government during a meeting with the leaders of the three largest parties the Maoists, the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (UML).

So far, Koirala’s Nepali Congress, was opposed to the idea of inviting the Maoists to form the new government. The Maoists have emerged as the largest political party in the assembly, and has bagged 220 seats in the 601-member house.

Nepali Congress leaders are still not keen to join the new government, to be led by the Maoists. The party has also put forward a set of pre-connditions for the Maoist leadership to join the government.

Prachanda is expected to present a proposal for the formation of the next government on Sunday at a meeting of top leaders, senior Nepali Congress leader and peace and reconstruction minister Ram Chandra Poudel, said. The process of nominating the 26 members to the house would be finalised soon, he added. “He (Koirala) has asked Prachanda to take initiation for a new government in accordance with the constitution,” Poudel said.

For the Maoists, getting the magic figure of 301 members in the Constituent Assembly would be the biggest challenge. Falling short by 81 seats, it would be difficult for them to woo support for simple majority as well. Like the Nepali Congress, leaders of the CPN (UML) have also expressed their unwillingness to join the new government. All CPN (UML) ministers have tendered their resignations from the interim government led by Koirala.

If the Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) don’t join the coalition, the Maoists would have to depend on the Madheshi Janadhikar Forum for support. It has 52 members.

Moreover, the new government would also need two-thirds majority to pass the new constitution. The Maoists would not be able to reach two-thirds majority if the Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) do not join the coalition.

The first sitting of the Constituent Assembly is scheduled to be held on May 28. The first-sitting would endorse the decision to make Nepal a republic and transform the members of the royal family to commoners.