Interim statute row : UML leader wants PM to act

Kathmandu, September 11 :

A senior leader of the ruling coalition today indicated that PM Girija Prasad Koirala should take an intiative to finalise the interim statute.

The call came from CPN-UML leader Jhala Nath Khanal.

Other issues yet to be uniformly agreed upon before the interim statute is enforced are the composition of the interim legislature, interim government, arms management and procedure concerning elections to a constituent assembly.

“What is needed now is initiatives from the Prime Minister. That alone will help the process,” Khanal, who is a member of the inter-party group formed to strike a consensus on contentious issues, told The Himalayan Times.

Until there is a consensus, the draft of the interim statute is likely to be in a limbo. Stopping short of accusing Koirala of procrastinating on the issue, Khanal said that he would like to just say that the “Prime Minister must take the initiative. Time has not yet come to say much.”

When drawn his attention to reports of the NC leadership defending ceremonial monarchy now, Khanal said that “nowhere have the NC leaders, who attend talks on the issue, talked of defending monarchy.” He also said that they have been saying that they will go by the mandate of the last general convention which said that the party should be “impervious” on monarchy. They have certainly not denied the republican order also.”

He expressed hope that things would start moving once Madhav Kumar Nepal and Sher Bahadur Deuba return from Seoul.

But sources close to the PM have denied that Koirala was involved in any delay. Instead, he is said to have telephoned Prachanda and even told the talks team members to first sort out the issue of arms management.

“The entire point is that, while the rebels want power with weapons intact, the PM does not,” a source told this daily. “Arms are central to everything in hand.”