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Nepal parties 'inch closer' to deal to extend CA term

Nepal's ruling alliance and the main Opposition Maoists inched closer to a deal to avert a political crisis following the failure to draft a new constitution by the parliament, whose term expires today.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Kathmandu
UPDATED ON MAY 28, 2010 10:21 PM IST

Nepal's ruling alliance and the main Opposition Maoists inched closer to a deal to avert a political crisis following the failure to draft a new constitution by the parliament, whose term expires today.

Even as the main Opposition CPN-Maoist and the 22-party ruling alliance continued to hold onto each other’s earlier stance, a ray of hope to end the deadlock has arisen as both sides have come closer to a deal, according to highly placed sources.

With barely hours left for the term of the Constituent Assembly to end, the top leaders of UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are currently holding key talks to ink a deal to extend its term.

Nepal's ruling coalition last week introduced a bill in the 601-Assembly to extend the term of the House for one year so that it can finish the task of framing a new constitution.

CPN-Maoist party, with nearly 35 percent of the parliamentary seats, have refused to cooperate in extending the term of the Assembly till Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal quits.

The Maoists have asked the ruling alliance for a timebound agreement for the PM’s resignation, party sources said.

The 22-party ruling coalition has asked the Maoists to reach a timebound agreement to manage their combatants, dissolve the paramilitary structure of the the Young Communist and to return properties seized during the decade-long civil war in the country.

Some understanding might be reached before the deadline expires, sources claimed.

The embattled Prime Minister, who is under pressure from the Maoists to step down, is scheduled to address the Assembly in the evening.

However, the crucial Parliament session has been delayed as the parties were still busy in negotiating a deal.

After the deal is finalise the Prime Minister is supposed to address the Parliament, whose term expires tonight.

A large number of people, including civil society members, human rights activists and journalists, have gathered outside the Assembly to step up pressure on the political parties to agree to the extension of the term of the Hosue.

Earlier, the Unified CPN-Maoist Standing committee directed its members not to vote in favour of the Assembly extension unless the Prime Minister tenders his resignation.

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