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Nepal coalition on the verge of a split

June 24, 2008 14:14 IST
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The Seven Party Alliance, which has been at the centrestage of the democratic movement in Nepal and was instrumental in the transition of the nation from a monarchy to a republic, is virtually defunct.

The Himalayan nation is witnessing a new round of political alignments and re-alignments with the CPN-UML joining hands with the CPN-Maoists, leaving behind the Nepali Congress.

The UML and Maoists have reached an agreement to seek consensus with other parties on amendments to the constitution, without consulting the NC.

A meeting of the two parties at Singha Durbar on Monday decided to seek consensus with other political parties to amend the constitution for forming the next government. The two parties will try to persuade NC to withdraw its conditions but are prepared to move ahead without it if the latter refuses.

The seven-party alliance, as mentioned in the interim constitution, is effectively dead.

''The ongoing political stalemate should not continue and all other political parties should seek consensus to find a way out of the crisis if the Nepali Congress doesn't withdraw its stance,'' UML leader Ishwar Pokharel, who attended the meeting, said.

The two parties' meeting concluded that the NC's demand for induction of an opposition leader into the Security Council is not appropriate.

''An opposition party should never claim representation in the Security Council,'' Pokharel remarked.

The Maoists had left the SPA negotiating table on Sunday after the NC demanded representation of the opposition party at the Security Council.

The meeting decided to introduce a proposal to amend the constitution at Wednesday's CA meeting. The seven political parties have already agreed to amend the current constitution to enable a simple majority to appoint the president.

''We will first try to seek consensus with NC also. But we will introduce a non-government bill to amend the constitution if the NC doesn't withdraw its demand by Wednesday,'' senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai said.

He said the process of forming the next government would begin once the interim constitution is amended and a new president elected through a simple majority of CA members.

Following the meeting with the Maoists, the UML held a separate meeting with the NC and urged the latter to withdraw its demand for opposition representation in the Security Council. However, the NC reiterated its stance, arguing that representation of the opposition in the Security Council is required in a special democracy.

''A demand for opposition representation in the Security Council would be irrelevant only in a normal democracy,'' said NC spokesperson Arjun Narsing, who attended the meeting.

He said the NC's demand is very relevant in the existing situation where the Maoists will head both the armies -- Nepali Army and rebel army (People's Liberation Army) --following the formation of a new government.

''We asked the UML team to realise the sensitivity of the current security situation and support our demand,'' added the NC spokesperson.

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