Parties sign five-point pact, two govts before May 27
KATHMANDU: After day-long haul, political parties on Thursday agreed to form a national consensus government within two days. As per the late-night five-point agreement, two national consensus governments will be formed prior to May 27.
The agreement signed by Maoist Chairman Prachanda, Congress President Sushil Koirala, UML Chairman Jhalnath Khanal and Bijay Kumar Gachhadar from the Madheshi front has agreed to form the first of this government in the leadership of Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai within two days.
Another government will be formed in the leadership of Nepali Congress before May 27 and it will promulgate the new constitution and conduct the general elections within a year of its formation.
Parties had agreed in principle to form national consensus government in Bhattarai’s leadership on Wednesday and after day-long tensions between the parties in interpreting that unwritten ‘gentleman understanding’, parties finally sealed the understanding in five point agreement that has chartered out the future course of government formation, constitution writing and peace process.
Following the understanding all ministers, except the Prime Minister, have resigned from their posts.
First point of the understanding says that “as all cabinet members of present government have resigned, a new consensus government will be formed in Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s leadership within two days on the basis of the seven point agreement.”
Along with that parties have agreed to forge consensus on outstanding issues of the new constitution including state restructuring, forms of governance among others, within three days. The agreement has further provisioned to resolve outstanding issues through “regular Constituent Assembly (CA) procedures.”
Maoist leader Khimlal Devkota said that issues that are not resolved in consensus will be resolved by the Constituent Assembly.
While provisioning to intensify meetings of senior leaders to resolve contentions in the constitution writing process, the parties have agreed that “remaining issues of the peace process will be resolved on the basis of understandings made in the past.”
Draft of the understanding was prepared by a taskforce comprising of Prachanda, UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, Congress General Secretary, and Gachhadar.
Commenting on the achievement of today’s agreement, Prime Minister Bhattarai said “This agreement has formed the basis to draft the constitution,” and added that, “Now the new constitution will be promulgated on May 27.”
Similarly, Congress leader Sitaula claimed that “agreement with new achievements has been reached. Now tasks related to peace and constitution writing will be concluded.”
In a bid to pave way for creating consensus among political parties, cabinet members from the Maoist and the Madheshi Front presented their resignation to the Prime Minister. The 41 member cabinet, largest ever, had tendered the resignation to create conducive environment for forming national consensus government said Minister for Physical Planning and Construction Hyridesh Tripati to media persons after the meeting.
“All ministers have resigned with an aim to form national consensus government within some days and to also resolve disputes seen in the constitution writing process,” said Tripathi.
Tripati had presented the resignation of the Ministers representing the Front while Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha had presented the joint resignations of Ministers representing the Maoist party.
The foiling-bid foiled
Efforts of a group of politicians from the three parties that had busied itself throughout Thursday to foil the understanding to transform the Bhattarai led government into a national consensus one, was thwarted by the five point agreement.
However before their efforts were turned futile, these leaders had put their best to bring down the government and thereby further intensify the fight to form another government.
Some leaders from the Maoist, Congress and UML engaged in series of ‘secret meeting’ at the CA hall on Thursday and partially succeeded to extend the national government formation ‘drama’.
Talks to ink Wednesday’s said ‘gentleman understanding’ to form national consensus government in Bhattarai’s leadership was affected by these secret talks after they demanded that PM Bhattarai too should step down.
These secret meetings were attended by leaders from Baidya faction of the Maoist, Oli faction of the UML and Paudel faction of the Maoist.
Stating that they should not support the formation of the consensus government in Bhattarai’s leadership, these leaders had decided to even table no-confidence motion in the parliament to topple the government.
Among others these meetings was attended by Maoist Senior Vice Chariman Mohan Baidya, General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and Standing Committee member Dev Gurung. From Congress Ram Chandra Paudel, Ram Sharan Mahat, Arjun Narsingh KC and from UML K P Oli, Ishwar Pokhrel, and Bhim Rawal participated in these secret talks.
Talking to media persons after the initial round of talks failed to ink down the agreement, Paudel had warned to topple the government by tabling no-confidence motion if PM Bhattarai did not step down.
“If today’s understanding remains unsatisfactory, than we will decide differently for the PM,” said Paudel adding that “we are ready to compromise on other issues but not government. The government has engaged in deceptive politics”.
Oli too supported Paudel’s statement and accused the government of deviating from the understanding to ‘dissolve’ the government. “Without PM’s resignation, how can the government be dissolved,” questioned Oli claiming that the government had misinterpreted Wednesday’s understanding.
“The Maoists cannot deceive political parties by handing them with lolly-pops,” said Oli warning that they would go into process if PM Bhattarai did not step down.
Gurung however downplayed the whole talks claiming that they (meetings) were ‘general talks’ that did not made any imperative decisions and said that “important talks were held in other building ( Special Committee’s Secretariat where Prachanda, K P Sitaula, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Bijay Kumar Gachhadar were in discussions)”
Prachanda, Sitaula, Nepal and Gachhadar played vital role in bringing the derailed talks back on track after rounds of intense discussions between themselves and other dissenting inter-party leaders.
“Situation was worsening, but now it seems to improving,” said Nepal in evening before the senior leadership sat for final round of discussions.