Nepal leaders get five more days to ink unity deal

December 14, 2012 - 7:22:44 am


KATHMANDU: Nepal’s president yesterday gave rival political parties a third extension to his deadline for forming a national unity government to lead the country into elections next year.

The restive Himalayan nation’s main parties have failed to strike a deal on the political make-up of a proposed new cabinet, despite being given 13 extra days after missing the original November 29 target.

“The president has already extended the deadline twice. But following a request from political parties, he has extended it until December 17 for them to forge a political consensus for the selection of a prime minister and formation of the cabinet,” a statement from the president’s office said.

Nepal has been run by a caretaker Maoist-led government since the collapse in May of an interim assembly that had failed in its main task of drawing up a new constitution following a civil war that ended in 2006.

Yadav had set Wednesday as a third deadline for the Maoists and opposition Nepali Congress, as well as several smaller parties, to agree on the make-up of a unity government to take Nepal into April or May polls for a new parliament.

“President Yadav urged us to end the deadlock as soon as possible. We are trying our best,” Jhalanath Khanal, chairman of Unified Marxist Leninist, said.

Talks have stalled over who should lead the new cabinet, with the opposition rejecting the idea of a government led by the incumbent prime minister, Baburam Bhattarai.     Afp