KATHAMNDU, April 30: The issue of forming a national unity government has formally entered the negotiations table with the NC demanding that it should lead such a government before the promulgation of the constitution.
But the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has said the NC should join Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s government only after the promulgation of the constitution.
The NC and Maoist leaders met Sunday morning before a formal four-party meeting held in the afternoon and discussed formation of the national consensus government.
The morning meeting was attended by Prime Minister Bhattarai, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC president Sushil Koirala, NC parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Paudel and NC General Sercretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula.
In the meeting, Sitauala proposed that after an agreeement is reached among the parties on all the contentious issues of the constitution, a national consensus government led by the NC should be formed and it should promulgate the constitution.
In reply, Maoist Chairman Dahal argued that the NC has never joined a government under Maoist leadership.
“We have been a part of the NC government led by late Girija Prasad Koirala now it’s time that NC join this government under our leadership so that it will pave way for the Maoist to join a government led by NC in the later stage,” a leader present in the meeting quoted Dahal as saying.
Dahal also proposed that Bhattarai government should be allowed to promulgate the constituon and then NC can lead a government that will conduct national elections.
Late in the day, emerging from a four-party meeting held at the CA building. “This matter of forming national consensus government was prominently dicussed at the meeting. We are inching closer to consensus. Now the process to form a national consensus government will be advanced soon.”
Also, leaders from other parties said the issue was discussed extensively and all the sides are in agreement on the broader issue of national unity government, however, they differ over its timing.
“Prime Minister Bhattarai should resign in advance,” said CPN UML leaders KP Sharma Oli, who was present in the meeting. He said they will discuss about the leadership of the new government and other matters only after the prime minister resigns.
NC Vice-president Paudel said that though the Maoist leaders are ready for formation of a consensus government they are demanding some time to implement it. “Dahal and Bhattarai are for taking some time to implement the agenda of government formation but we don’t want any further delay,” said Paudel.
UML General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel said there is no possibility of forming consensus government under Bhattarai’s leadership. “The chapter of this government should first be closed to pave the way for formation of a consensus coalition,” he said.
UML’s Bhim Rawal claimed that the issue didn’t surface at Sunday’s talks out of the blue but they raied the issue as the time is ripe for it. He explained that an agreement to the effect was reached on November 1 last year while signing the seven point deal.
He said the issue was discussed prominently because all the sides have agreed to take all the issues—including constitution writing, formation of a consensus government and institutionalizing the achievements—forward in a package ever since the Hattiban talks.
“Leaders have now realized that formation of a consensus government will make the future course of politics easier,” Rawal said.