Wed, 16 Jan 2013 12:50:40 GMT

Nepal Prez asks parties to reach consensus, sets no deadline

From Shirish B Pradhan
Kathmandu, Jan 15 (PTI) Nepal''s President today asked warring political parties to continue the process of formation of a national unity government but set no deadline, as the opposition today unveiled a 20-day protest programme to oust the Maoist-led government from power.

President Ram Baran Yadav asked the leaders to form a consensus government after holding a meeting with 18 political parties at the Rastrapati Bhawan today.

However, this time the President did not specify any deadline to form the national government.

"The President has given continuity to the process, which he initiated on November 23 as per the Article 38(1) of Interim Constitution, to choose a new Prime Minister and form the government after 18 political parties representing the dissolved Constituent Assembly today expressed commitment to forge political consensus at the earliest as per their commitment to hold the new elections," the President''s office said in a statement.

The ninth extension of deadline issued by the president ended yesterday.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties today unveiled a 20-day protest programme starting from January 19 to topple Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai''s government.

The meeting of senior leaders of the nine opposition parties including Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Rastriya Prajatantra Party, among others, announced the protest programme to remove the Maoist-led government from power, according to Pradip Gyawali, standing committee member of CPN-UML.

"We will oust Prime Minister Bhattarai by launching intensified agitation programme across the country," Gyawali told PTI after the meeting.

"The protest programmes are targeted against the growing corruption, price hike, failure to forge consensus and growing anarchism of the government," he pointed out.

As per the protest programme top leaders of the parties will address a protest rally on January 19 in Dailekh, where radio journalist Dekendra Thapa was tortured and buried alive by Maoist cadres some nine years ago.

As part of the protest programme, they will ask the government to take stern action against those involved in journalist Dekendra Thapa''s murder, Gyawali said.

Similarly, the opposition parties will also be holding protest rallies in all district headquarters in the 75 districts, across the country on January 20.

They will organise a joint protest meeting in the capital on February 11 asking for Prime Minister Bhattarai''s resignation.

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