RAM KUMAR KAMAT / PRAKASH ACHARYA
KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is to dissolve the Cabinet tomorrow to pave the way for formation of a national unity government, according to knowledgeable sources.
The decision seems to have been prompted by an agreement reached among four major political forces — the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front— on forms of government and federalism, the most contentious issues related to the new constitution. Formation of unity government following the dissolution of the current Cabinet tomorrow could hasten the statute-drafting process, ensuring that the country gets a constitution by May 27.
As per today’s agreement opposition parties, mainly the NC and UML, will join the government led by Baburam Bhattarai for a ‘few days’ and later NC will take over before May 27, and an NC-led government will hold the general elections, according to NC and UML sources.
In an interview with the BBC Nepali Service this evening, UML Chairman Jhala Math Khanal also said that the Maoist-led Cabinet will be dissolved tomorrow. “Baburam Bhattarai will continue as the prime minister and his government will be replaced by a new one that will be formed in NC’s leadership before May 27,” said Khanal. However, a source close to Prime Minister Bhattarai said as per today’s understanding Bhattarai will lead the government until the promulgation of the new constitution and after that NC will take charge.
“Today’s four-party meeting has almost reached agreement on three issues — formation of a unity government, forms of governance and federalism. The meeting to be convened tomorrow at 1:00pm will make public the agreement,” said NC negotiator Krishna Sitaula after today’s meeting. “We have cleared the decks for a unity government. We will sign an agreement tomorrow to ensure that a unity government will be formed and that the constitution will be delivered by May 27.”
The parties today also agreed to amend Article 70 of the Interim Constitution to cut short the procedures for ratifying constitutional issues.
“On federalism, parties have almost agreed on 10 pradeshes,” said Maoist leader Khim Lal Devkota. Maoist sources claimed that the parties today agreed to go for a mixed model — directly elected president and prime minister elected by Parliament. However, parties are yet to finalise separation of power between the President and the prime minister.
All most agreed upon
• Maoist-led unity govt with NC, UML, UDMF soon
• NC to take over before May 27
• Parties strike deal on issues of federalism, forms of governance
• Agreement on carving out 10 pradeshes most likely
Media urged not to press leaders
KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress negotiator Krishna Prasad Sitaula on Wednesday urged the media to cooperate and maintain patience. As he braved a volley of questions from journalists after Wednesday’s four-party meeting, Sitaula requested the media to ‘help leaders by not asking too many questions’. “Disclosing everything today could spoil the attempts made so far to reach consensus,” said Sitaula.