KATHMANDU, Dec 19: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has extended the deadline given to the parties for the formation of national consensus government yet again by five days till Saturday.
The president has asked the parties to come up with a consensus prime ministerial candidate for the unity government by Saturday following request Tuesday by the four major political forces -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front to extend the deadline.
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sushil Koirala, UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and UDMF Coordinator Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar had reached the president´s office at Shital Niwas to request the president to extend the deadline between three and five days.
Talking to media persons after the meeting, UML Chairman Khanal said, "The discussions so far have not reached to any conclusion. But the discussions are moving in a positive direction so we asked the president to extend the deadline," he said.
Leaders said they will continue talks for consensus. They also expressed confidence that they will reach consensus before the scheduled visit of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav to India which begins on December 24.
Sources said the president had expressed strong dissatisfaction with the parties over their repeated failure to forge consensus. He yet again cautioned the top leaders of major parties that the country may head toward unimaginable situation should they fail to forge consensus ´anytime soon´ as the delay will make the polls scheduled for mid-May uncertain.
This is the fourth extension of the deadline given by the president. The first week´s deadline given by the president expreid on November 23. Though there was expectation that the parties would be able to reach deal by Monday, that did not happen after the prime minister put forth various conditions including conclusion of the peace process, formation of various commissions including Truth and Reconciliation Commission and fixing of election date and clearing legal hurdles relating to fresh election before his exit.
The possible deal among the parties was delayed further after the prime minister also demanded that the opposition parties join his cabinet at least for a week -- something the opposition parties rejected outright.
UDMF Coordinator Gachchhadar has expressed dissatisfaction over the stance of the UCPN (Maoist), NC and UML not to include UDMF in the negotiations.
Talking to journalists after his meeting with President Dr Yadav, Gachchhadar said there cannot be consensus without involving Madhesi parties in the negotiation process.
Gachchhadar argued that the condition put forth by Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai was not his alone, but also of the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA). "There must be a package deal before the present govenrment steps down," he added.
Meanwhile, UDMF has called its meeting on Wednesday to make its position public regarding the ongoing negotiation process.
Oppn parties demand Prez to call for majority govt
With the ruling parties putting forth one after another conditions for the present government´s exit, the opposition parties have demanded that the president should ask the parties to form a majority government under Article 38 (2). "Enough is enough. This has now become a political joke. How long can the president extend deadline?" asked NC leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat.
"A country cannot be held hostage for any further to the prime minister´s untenable wishes," he said.
UCPN (Maoist) office bearers´ meet decides not to change stance
A meeting of the UCPN (Maoist) office bearers held at the residence of party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Tuesday evening decided that the party will stick to its stance on package deal before the present government could quit.
The package deal that the Maoist party has demanded includes filling the vacant positions in various constitutional bodies, fixing the date for fresh CA poll and participation of opposition parties in the present government for some time.
"If the Nepali Congress does not accept Maoist leadership of the govenrment it is not necessary for us to accept NC´s leadership either. We could agree on any other party leading the new government," said the prime minister´s chief political advisor Devendra Paudel.