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Highest rank for ex-fighters still rankles

  Parties agree not to include high-level political mechanism among constitutional provisions

THT

Leaders of the UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front holding talks with leaders of fringe parties of the dissolved Constituent Assembly on formation of election government, at New Baneshwor, in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: The four major political forces — Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front — could not strike a deal even today to pave way for appointing Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi as the head of election government. They, however, were hopeful of a pact within couple of days, as they have already agreed on most contentious issues — removing constitutional difficulties, forming Truth and Reconciliation Commission and criteria for updating the voters’ list.

The only bone of contention remains the highest rank for the former Maoist combatants in the Nepali Army. Maoists have been demanding two lieutenant colonels and a colonel for the former Maoist fighters. When Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told the meeting that his party would not compromise on the three posts, NC President Sushil Koirala said his party was ready to give one lieutenant colonel for the sake of consensus. Since Dahal did not budge on his demand, today’s talks were postponed until tomorrow morning, sources told The Himalayan Times.

“Although, we have almost agreed on an 11-point political document and 24-point paper for invoking the Article 158 of the Interim Constitution, the issue of one colonel is what is stalling the deal,” said NC task force member Bimalendra Nidhi.

The four parties agreed today to remove the proposed political mechanism from the constitutional provision and mention it in the 11-point political document as demanded by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, Nidhi added. However, the parties rejected CJ Regmi’s other three demands — adding three members to the 11-member Cabinet, calling the CJ prime minister, and not the chairman of the Interim Election Government, and accepting independent persons and former justices as ministers. The CJ had put forth these demands during a meeting with the top leaders of the four forces yesterday. “The Cabinet will comprise only former bureaucrats and not independent persons or former justices as demanded by CJ Regmi,” Nidhi said.

CJ-led government will automatically fall if it failed to hold polls even by November, as the constitutional provision will clearly state that ‘the difficulties of the constitution have been removed only until November’, Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha told THT. “Although, we still hope that the polls could be held by June 14, we have agreed to go for polls in November in case it was impossible to hold them in June.” Ramesh Lekhak, NC task force member for TRC, said, “We have finalised the TRC bill mandating it with two tasks — finding the truth after thorough investigation on the conflict related cases first and recommending the government for reconciliation on general cases and for legal action on cases of serious human rights violation.” Serious rights violation will be defined as per the law of the land and international norms and practices, he added.

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