KATHMANDU, Aug 30: Top leaders of the three major political parties -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML -- said on Wednesday that they have reached an understanding to settle the unresolved disputes in constitution writing and to arrive at a package deal on the next political course by mid-September.
The meeting between the chiefs of the three parties -- Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Sushil Koirala and Jhalanath Khanal -- ended with an agreement to finalize the deal in the next two weeks.
"The meeting entrusted the chiefs of the three parties to hold serious discussions and decide on one of the two courses -- reinstatement of the Constituent Assembly (CA) or going for fresh elections," UCPN (Maoist) Spokesman Agni Prasad Sapkota told reporters after the three-party meeting.
The three leaders are unanimous on first settling the unresolved disputes in the new constitution with top priority, and then deciding on whether to reinstate the dissolved CA or to go for fresh elections.
Dahal, Koirala and Khanal in the meeting. (Photo: Bhashwor Ojha)
UML leader and former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said they have started talks to arrive at solutions that are acceptable to major political forces. According to him, the debate is on to settle issues concerning unresolved disputes, amendment of constitution and election-related laws, formation of a consensus government and going for fresh elections.
"Today [Wednesday] only, we have reached an understanding to finalize a package deal over these issues by mid-September," Nepal said at a function organized by a forum of former lawmakers in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, speaking at the same function, said that there are two major aspects in ending the present political crisis. "The first is to reach an agreement on the contents of new constitution and the second the procedures to promulgate new statute," said Dahal.
He expressed confidence that the leaders can find a common ground on the thorniest issues such as determining the federal set up and system of governance in the new constitution. "Apart from creating ground for the new constitution, we have reduced the number of disputes from 230 to just a couple of issues. So I believe that we can resolve the remaining disputes as well," he said.
NC President Sushil Koirala said that around 85 percent of the task of constitution making had already been completed and there were only a couple of disputes, mainly related to state restructuring, remaining to be resolved when the CA saw its demise.
CPN-UML Chairman Khanal, on the other hand echoed Maoist Chairman Dahal on the need to reach an agreement on the contents of new statute and laying the grounds for its promulgation.
"The present government and the ruling parties have been fomenting polarization and inviting confrontations. So formation of a consensus government is must because only such a coalition can propose a roadmap for way forward," said Khanal. All the leaders had arrived at the function after attending three-party meeting.
Admitting that they wasted the last three months mud-slinging against each other, the top leaders sharing the same podium committed to find solutions through dialogue instead of trading charges at each other.
However, CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya, who was not invited to the three-party meeting, ruled out outright the possibility of the top leaders resolving the disputes.
"The same three top leaders of the same three parties laid waste four years in the name of finding consensus. How can they be expected to find solutions in the days to come?" Baidya said.