Ending a political deadlock, Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Saturday invited the Maoists to form a government, more than a month after they emerged as the biggest party in the Constituent Assembly polls.
"Prime Minister Koirala, acting as the head of the state, called on the Maoists to form a government of national consensus as per the constitution," Nepali Congress general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi told PTI.
Koirala called on Maoist chief Prachanda to take the initiative of forming a new government during a meeting between top leaders of the three major political parties-- the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist -- at the Prime Minister's official residence at Baluwatar.
The CPN-Maoists, which emerged as the biggest party in the 601-member Constituent assembly bagging 220 seats in the April 10 polls, had been pressing Koirala to give way to the government led by Prachanda.
The octogenarian premier's invitation has paved the way for Maoists, who ended their decade-long armed struggle in November 2006, to come to power.
The Maoist chief is expected to present a proposal concerning the formation of the next government at a meeting of top leaders scheduled on Sunday, NC General Secretary and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel told reporters after the meeting.
As per the Article 38(1) of the Interim Constitution, a government can be formed on the basis of national consensus.
However, if consensus is not achieved on forming a government, then Article 38(2) will be activated, which requires two thirds majority for forming and dissolving the government, constitutional expert Dinesh Tripathi said.
The provision of national consensus to form a government has been made for the transitional period, he added.
The Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Madhesi People's Rights Forum, the major political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly, had earlier agreed to amend the constitution and remove the provision of two thirds majority for forming and dissolving the government before handing over power to the Maoists.
However, the Maoists leaders have opposed any such amendment.
"We hope that the Maoists will agree to amend the constitution to get our support and forge consensus to form government," Nidhi said.
Parties which are reluctant to support a Maoist-led government fear that it may turn into a dictatorship if two third majority is required to oust them, political analysts said.
The leaders of 13 parties, which have representation in the Constituent Assembly, have started consultation at Singhdurbar secretariat today afternoon, ahead of the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly on May 28, when monarchy will be abolished.
The nomination of 26 members to the Assembly by the Council of Ministers, preparation for Wednesday's meeting and amendment to the constitution, are the key issues that would come up during the meeting.
Another issue that has polarised the parties is the Maoists' demand of keeping the two posts of Prime Minister and President with themselves.