Nepal’s President, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, gave the country’s political parties on Monday till August 21 to form a national consensus government.
The announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal resigned due to his inability to reach agreements with the country’s parties.
The Hindu reports that all parties have, in principle, expressed their commitment to form a unity government but it remains unclear how such a government would be formed and who would lead it.
Meanwhile, Khanal gave a speech in Parliament on Monday evening in which he said he had resigned to pave the way for a national agreement. Khanal accused his key coalition partner, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), of “non cooperation” and said he had taken enormous risks inside and outside the party to create political space for the Maoists.
“Despite opposition, I gave them the Home Ministry, and reshuffled their Cabinet Ministers when they demanded,” Khanal said. “But they did not co-operate.”
Khanal emphasized there was still “no alternative to consensus and suggested that for this to happen, Maoists had to honestly take the peace process forward and that the Nepali Congress (NC) had to relinquish its claim for leadership of the government.
He said there had been progress on the issue of integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants, adding the parties were close to a deal on the number of combatants to be integrated and modality of integration. He cited the timely presentation of the budget, measures to ease power supply, “ending industrial insecurity”, and appointment of university Vice-Chancellors among his key achievements.
Meanwhile, the NC and the Maoists have already staked their claim to lead the next government, The Hindu reports. Within the NC, former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is reported to be planning a no-confidence motion against parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Poudel in order to be projected as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate. The Maoists, on their part, have proposed Dr. Baburam Bhattarai as their candidate to head a unity government.