As consensus deadline nears deal on unity govt still a far cry
By Rajendra Pokhrel
Political parties are all set to give the President's deadline to name a consensus Prime Minister a miss as they refuse to budge even an inch to reach a compromise.
As the November 29 deadline approaches, the ruling coalition has not let go of its demand that Baburam Bhattarai, a constitutionally elected head of government, should lead a unity government. The alliance, which has formally termed the President's move as a breach of the constitution, is learnt to have adopted a policy of waiting out the deadline.
Opposition parties, however, want a Nepali Congress stalwart at the helm. They have been publicly saying that the largest opposition party in the dissolved Parliament has not had a chance to lead the government after the formation of the Constituent Assembly. However, in reality, parties in the opposition are more 'safe' with a Congress leader as Prime Minister of unity government as they still have little clue as to what the former rebels' future strategies are. They are worried that they might lose badly in an election conducted by a Maoist government.
At a meeting with journalists on Monday evening, the UCPN (Maoist) chief said his party will not accept a Nepali Congress leader as Prime Minister. He said that his party would have backed Congress if only it had agreed to resurrect the dissolved CA. UCPN (Maoist) leaders believe that an NC Prime Minister could easily team up with a President, who is in their words a Congress 'sympathiser', to 'encircle' the Maoist party.
What after November 29?
On November 29, the President , who has had a history of extending the deadline for the formation of a national consensus government, is certain to do so again -- even if political parties do not make such a request.
It is clear that until political parties make compromise to reach a deal, the President has no option but to keep on extending the deadline. Media commentators are saying that both Nepali Congress and UCPN (Maoist) would eventually have to agree on a candidate, whom both the parties and the foreign powers can trust. In the words of Dahal, the candidate could be Tarai Madhesh Loktantrik Party chief Mahanta Thakur or Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) chief Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar -- both of whom left Congress to further the cause of Madhesh.
Until such a compromise is reached, the President is likely to keep on extending his 'deadline' as he knows that any move to 'handpick' a Prime Minister would backfire on himself. nepalnews.com