KATHMANDU, May 29: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Monday that the present government led by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai would continue in office but added he was open to discussing Bhattarai´s resignation if a national consensus is forged among the political parties.
"There is no question of Bhattarai´s resignation. The leadership of the government can be discussed only after there is a national consensus among political parties," said Dahal, replying to questions from journalists at a press conference on Tuesday.
Dahal´s remarks come at a time when the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have been demanding that the prime minister step down, questioning his constitutional status if he remains in office.
Dahal was optimistic that the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML would join the Bhattarai-led government in the next two/three days, pining his hopes on the formation of a national consensus government.
Dahal, without naming the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, accused those parties of having an "old mindset" and being against identity-based federalism. He blamed them for the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.
Dahal further alleged that the NC and UML were more focused at the final stages of the negotiations on formation of government, instead of giving top priority to constitution writing.
Dahal further told the press conference that his party wanted to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly by six months more through the imposition of a state of emergency but refrained from doing so after the NC and CPN-UML objected.
Defending the government decision to go for fresh elections for another Constituent Assembly, Dahal said there could have been no other democratic move than announcing new elections.
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“The election has been announced as per the Supreme Court ruling," Dahal said, claiming that his party would garner a two-thirds majority in the November 22 poll and the NC and CPN-UML would suffer a setback.
Dismissing allegations from the Baidya faction of his party that Dahal´s leadership has failed, the Maoist chairman said neither his leadership nor the party´s political line has failed.
"I don´t concede that I have failed. History will bear this out," Dahal said.
Dahal also refuted the argument of Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya that the constitution could not be drafted if constitution making and the peace process were not taken in tandem.
"I don´t agree that the analysis of Kiran [Baidya] was correct. I was right," Dahal said.