Parties Face Deadline For Consensus

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KATHMANDU, Nepal, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Nepal’s squabbling parties have until Sunday to form a unity government, as the Himalayan state faced another political crisis after its prime minister quit.

Jhalanath Khanal resigned Sunday as prime minister, a post he had held for only about six month, after consensus talks with other party leaders failed.

Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav then gave the parties until Sunday to form a consensus government. If not, the next government would be chosen through a majority voted in parliament.

No party enjoys a majority in parliament. The main parties are the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), Nepali Congress and the Maoists.

While the parties agreed to meet Yadav’s deadline to form a consensus government, it was not clear how that would happen and who would lead it.

Speaking in parliament Monday, the outgoing Khanal, who leads the Communist Party of Nepal, blamed the Maoists for lack of progress in the peace process despite his government’s efforts to reach consensus, Nepalnews.com reported.

Khanal came to power in February, after winning the support of the Maoists. The Maoists, led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, have held the most seats in Parliament since elections in 2008.

Nepal was a Hindu kingdom for more than two centuries before it was brought down in 2006 following a deadly 10-year Maoist insurgency that ended with a peace deal. The current constituent assembly has until Aug. 31 to have a new constitution in place to make way for a national government.

The main issue in the political squabbling involves the Maoist demand of rehabilitating and integrating and rehabilitating about 19,000 former rebels into the Nepalese military and security forces, which other parties don’t accept.

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