KATHMANDU: After vacillating for days and wavering over four most contentious issues, major political forces today said they were ‘quite close to a deal’, signing of which is most likely tomorrow, to form an interim election government under Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi.
Multiple sources talking to this daily claimed that the President would invoke Article 158 of the Interim Constitution to remove constitutional difficulties on Wednesday and that a swearing-in for CJ Regmi as the new executive head will take place the same day.
According to sources, the four major political forces — the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front — today drafted a 25-point agreement which will be finalised tomorrow afternoon after the eight-member taskforce, formed by the four forces, studies it in the morning. Sources told this daily that the parties, before signing a deal, would send a copy of the draft agreement to President Ram Baran Yadav tomorrow afternoon for suggestions and that they will inform about the ongoing consensus process to all the parties of the dissolved Constituent Assembly.
“The consensus process will conclude tomorrow and a new government will be in place most likely by Wednesday,” NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula told THT. Prior to the meeting of the four forces, top leaders in the afternoon had called on CJ Regmi, who had drawn a line in the sand, implying that he had some reservations about parties’ proposal. “The three major concerns CJ Regmi expressed were: writing off the provision of political mechanism in the constitution, adding three more members in the proposed 11-member Cabinet and allowing him to appoint former justices also as Cabinet members,” said NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi. “The leaders have agreed not to include political mechanism as a constitutional provision. However, political parties’ role will be mentioned in some other way,” he said. “The consensus is 99.9 per cent certain tomorrow.” Sources said parties had agreed to hold fresh CA polls by mid-June but would mention in the constitution that ‘it could be altered, for only once, on the basis of political consensus if elections could not be held in June’. “In that case, polls could be held in November and if that does not happen then also, the process that is being followed now will be repeated,” said sources.
UCPN-M leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the parties, however, are yet to agree on rank for the former Maoist fighters integrated into the national army. He hoped of reaching a deal on this issue too.
On the road to agreement
• President to invoke Article 158 on Wednesday and swearing-in of CJ Regmi as new PM the same day
• Polls by mid-June, but can be postponed for November
• New PM will have the leverage to form 15-member Cabinet
• No constitutional provision for political mechanism
• Constitutional provision will, however, recognise parties’ role