Nepali Maoists issue 24-hr ultimatum to PM
Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist has given a 24-hour ultimatum to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to facilitate formation of the next government.
In a meeting with PM Koirala at his official residence in Baluwatar on Monday, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said Maoists will quit the government if consensus is not reached on formation of the next government under Maoist leadership by Tuesday evening.
"We will pull out of the government if Prime Minister Koirala doesn't prepare the environment for us to form the government," said senior Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who accompanied Dahal.
"PM Koirala must step down for us to form the next government. Nepali Congress is intentionally prolonging the government formation process," Bhattarai said.
During the meeting, Dahal said the issues of people's liberation army (PLA) management and return of confiscated property should have been settled before the Constituent Assembly (CA) election. He (Dahal) told Koirala that Maoists would not accept any condition before formation of the next government.
"All the issues raised by Nepali Congress (NC) can be dealt with along with the formation of the next government," Bhattarai said, adding, "But the conditions shouldn't obstruct government formation."
On the question of president of the republic, Dahal proposed that the president be elected by a majority vote in the constituent assembly if consensus is not reached.
"We will never accept Girija Prasad Koirala or Madhav Kumar Nepal as the presidential candidate in the name of power sharing," Bhattarai said, questioning, "On what basis can they claim the top post?"
He said Maoists, being the largest political party, have a legitimate claim over both the posts--president and prime minister.
"But we are expressing our generosity by proposing a candidate from a smaller political party for president," he said.
PM Koirala reiterated that Maoists should first settle all other issues including management of arms and armies, return of confiscated property and dissolution of the military structure of the Young Communist League, a Maoist affiliated youth organisation, before claiming the right to form the next government.
Koirala told Dahal that the people's mandate was for consensual politics.
Koirala's party, Nepali Congress held an urgent meeting of its senior leaders and the members represented in the three-party joint task team to thrash out a future strategy following the Maoist ultimatum.
In the meeting, the leaders reiterated they could not support Maoists in formation of a new government until the former rebels commit themselves to implementing past agreements.
The leaders also decided to stick to the party's stance despite the Maoist threat to quit the government.
"We are clear that Maoists should form the government as the largest party, but that does not mean they should not abide by any agreement signed in the past and we should always surrender to their threats," said NC spokesperson Arjun Narsing KC, after the meeting.