Maoists fail to form the government within stipulated time; Differences crop up over plum portfolios; President orders CA to elect Prime Minister; Civil society groups criticize the failure to form government
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  • In a major blow to the ongoing peace process, the four big parties - CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) - failed to form the new government within the stipulated ten day period. On July 30, the President of Nepal had invited the CPN-Maoist to form the government within a weeks’ time. Initially, the four big parties agreed to form a national unity government (UG) and had agreed to prepare a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) to reflect the agendas of all the parties. To this end, they had also decided to form a four-member taskforce1. However, a separate initiative to form the government by the NC and the Maoists affected their unity. Maoist chairman Prachanda on his part blamed the NC for reducing the chances of forming a consensus government2.

    Reports noted that talks among the four parties failed because of their inability to divide plum ministerial portfolios. The Maoists wanted at least two of the portfolios of Home and Defense, which was not agreeable to others. The NC and UML on their part wanted the defense and home portfolios respectively. The NC and the UML also proposed that the Maoists keep the finance portfolio while the MJF could get the foreign affairs portfolio3.

    Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly (CA) fixed August 15 as the dtae for the election of the Prime Minister. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav directed the CA Secretariat to conduct the election of the PM after the parties failed to form a consensus government within the 10-day deadline4.

    Civil society leaders urged the political parties to keep intact the coalition till the final draft of the new constitution was prepared through the Constituent Assembly. Former speaker Daman Nath Dhungana noted that civilians were feeling insecure due to the political developments. Human rights activist Padma Ratna Tuladhar blamed the lack of coalition culture among the political parties for the imbroglio. Lilamani Pokhrel of People’s Front called on the political parties to concentrate on reconstruction and strive for lasting peace by leaving aside all sorts of pride5.

    India meanwhile agreed to grant assistance for the implementation of small development projects through local bodies and non-governmental organizations. The scheme would cover projects such as roads, education, health and community development6.