UML trying hard to build consensus on republic issue

Kathmandu, October 22:

The CPN-UML, which has accelerated efforts to “convince” the major political parties to “create a basis for consensus” before October 29 — the day when the next meeting of the

special session of the parliament begins — is “hopeful” that the Maoists will “agree” on declaring a republic after the constituent assembly polls.

The CPN-UML’s efforts include calling an all-party meeting “in a day or two” to thrash out differences on the electoral system and the declaration of a republic from the parliament.

“They (Maoist) are, however, yet to give a nod to the electoral system,” standing committee member of the CPN-UML, Jhalanath Khanal, told The Himalayan Times today, indicating

at the Maoists’ “flexibility” on the republic issue before the CA polls.

The upcoming parliamentary session, Khanal said, would be “meaningless” if the parties failed to build consensus before the session begins. “We have accelerated efforts to build consensus,” he said, indicating at the possibility of an all-party meeting in a day or two.

Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang had, on October 16, announced to adjourn the special session of the parliament for 12 days considering a “special request” by the seven parties and “seriousness of the issue” proposed by the CPN-Maoist.

The meeting between the CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and Maoist chairman Prachanda, which took place yesterday, portrays a scenario about the ongoing efforts to iron out the differences.

Sources said Prachanda is said to have urged Nepal to support his party’s stand on abolishing the institution of monarchy from the parliament and going for a fully proportional electoral system. Nepal, on the other hand, “suggested” Prachanda to “take to the UML way”, saying that the country can be declared a republic after the polls.

Referring to the “high priority” accorded by the parties on building a consensus, Khanal expressed hope that the all-party meeting would resolve the crises.

Nepali Congress central leader Laxman Ghimire, however, doubted the possibility of holding all-party meeting in a day or two “since the three major parties — the NC, CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist — are yet to finalise the agenda for the meeting.

“It is clear that they (Maoists) do not want elections,” Ghimire said.

He further added that the NC would not accept the Maoists’ proposal of a fully proportional representation electoral system to “avert possible national disintegration.”

Maoist leader CP Gajurel termed the talks between Nepal and Prachanda positive on the issue of the election system. “We are closer on the election system but things need to be further fine-tuned on declaring a republic early,” Gajurel told this daily, adding that the government in general and the Nepali Congress in particular will come under “moral pressure” to move a motion seeking a republic early.

“We are not in a position to exactly say as to how mandatory will be the decision made by the parliament after the motions in questions are passed by a simple majority. But regardless of its constitutionality, the government and parties opposed to the moves will be under moral pressure,” Gajurel said.

He, however, said he does not see any possibility of an early all-party meeting. Gajurel said the next few days would witness talks among parties before reaching any concrete conclusion and unanimity.