Parties mull face-saving formula for consensus

Kathmandu, January 2

The major parties seem to be waiting for an appropriate time to forge consensus and have been mulling over possible alternatives for a face-saving formula, as they have agreed to hold local, provincial and parliamentary elections within one year.

The ruling parties are not ready to withdraw the constitution amendment bill as suggested by the alliance of nine opposition parties led by the main opposition party, CPN-UML, which is not ready to allow the House to do its business until the government withdraws the bill.

“Both sides have begun to soften their stances as they are making allegations against each other. The UML is no as aggressive as earlier. So I hope we’ll find middle ground.

However, I don’t think it will happen before the opposition’s scheduled mass demonstration slated for Friday,” CPN-Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha told THT after the three-party meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar. The parties are in a mood to abandon confrontation and forge consensus, he said.

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba said he was hopeful of forging consensus at the earliest, as the outcome of discussions had been positive.

CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli said his party reiterated its stance asking the government to withdraw the bill. “Once the government withdraws the bill, the House obstruction will be cleared,” he said.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties continued with the House obstruction today as well. Kamala Bishwakarma of the CPN-UML, speaking at the beginning of today’s House meeting, said the government would have to withdraw the bill, as splitting Province 5 was against the demand of the people of the region.

As if on a cue, the opposition lawmakers then stood up and ignored Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar’s plea to let the House function.

After opposition lawmakers kept standing for 15 minutes, she postponed the House meeting for three hours until 4:00pm. She urged the parties to be serious, as continuous obstruction was creating an obstacle in the implementation of the constitution.

She then met chief whips of the parties. She also invited top leaders for the meeting, but since they were not present the meeting could not reach any conclusion. She then adjourned the House until 1:00pm tomorrow.