Prez gives parties one more week to pick consensus PM
THIRA L BHUSAL
KATHMANDU, Nov 30: President Ram Baran Yadav on Thursday extended the deadline given to the parties to nominate a consensus prime ministerial candidate by seven days as demanded by leaders from the major political parties.
The president decided to give one more week for the purpose as politicians from the major political parties failed to pick a prime ministerial candidate within the weeklong deadline that expired on Thursday.
"The president has extended the deadline till December 6 as demanded by leaders from the major political parties to nominate a consensus prime minister," said a statement issued by the president´s office late in the evening Thursday.
The president has cited Article 38 (1) of the interim constitution, the same provision that he had referred to earlier as well. The article states that the prime minister shall be elected through political consensus and the council of ministers shall be formed by him.
"Today [Thursday] we have committed to the president that this time around we would try our level best to nominate consensus candidate and we will leave no stone unturned to come up with a result," CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal told reporters while emerging from the president´s office.
UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala, UML Chairman Khanal and Rajendra Mahato representing the United Democratic Madhesi Front held over two-hour-long meeting with the head of state at the president´s office in Shital Niwas.
Khanal said they held extensive discussions on current political situation while mainly dwelling on whether or not to extend the deadline. "Eventually, we [leaders] agreed that the timeline should be extended and suggested the same to the president," he said.
With the leaders failing to agree on the next prime ministerial candidate in the given timeframe, President Yadav summoned chiefs of four major political forces to his office seeking their advice before taking any step.
Two days after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly on May 27, the president had declared the present government as a caretaker one. As his repeated meetings and frequent informal calls to chiefs of the political parties for consensus on forming a new government yielded no result, the head of state had to formally issue a weeklong deadline to the parties to nominate a consensus prime ministerial candidate.
While the opposition parties welcomed the president´s call, the prime minister was irked by the move. Federal Democratic Republican Alliance, the alliance of the ruling parties headed by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Dahal and a cabinet meeting, termed the president´s call an unconstitutional move. Dahal, however, has been actively participating in the process and staked his party´s claim to the new prime ministerial berth.
Though both the ruling as well as opposition parties stepped up formal as well as informal negotiations in a bid to garner support, none of them succeeded in hammering out a solution acceptable to all.
While Dahal has strongly staked his party’s claim to the prime ministerial berth, NC President Sushil Koirala from the opposition camp has joined the race and is lobbying for his own candidacy.