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Three party talks end inconclusively

  They realise need for consensus‚ but parties still can't find common ground


KATHMANDU: Talks between Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist on disputed issues of the constitution ended here inconclusively.

Chairman of Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee Baburam Bhattarai, who had organised residential talks among the three major parties at Gokarna resort issued a press release saying the talks helped build a positive environment among parties for resolution of constitutional issues.

But NC negotiator Ramchandra Paudel deflected the blame on UCPN-M for failure of talks. Paudel told THT that UCPN-M was rigid on all the disputed issues including federalism, forms of governance and electoral system and his party would not compromise on the fundamental norms of democratic system.

Bhattarai said in the press release that the parties agreed to conclude the unresolved issues in the next meeting to be held on October 26.

“Top leaders seriously discussed federalism, forms of governance, electoral and judicial systems. They have not reached agreement on the issues, but they have candidly put forth their viewpoints. Their efforts to dispel one another’s doubts has helped build a positive environment among parties,” the press release quoted Bhattarai.

The talks were held yesterday and today. Leaders of the three parties held bilateral and trilateral talks both formally and informally.

“There are serious differences among the parties on federalism, forms of governance and electoral system, but they have realised that consensus is necessary among parties that have joined hands since the 12-point agreement,” Bhattarai said in the press release. Bhattarai said political leaders agreed to resolve their differences after Tihar festival after discussing the issues within their respective parties.

UCPN-M negotiator Narayan Kaji Shrestha said parties stuck to their old stances on issues of federalism, forms of governance and electoral system. According to him, the UCPN-M was for 10-pradesh model whereas the NC and the UML were for six or seven pradeshes.

“There is a fundamental difference in the understanding of federalism. The NC and the UML view it merely as question of autonomous rule and want to give priority to geography, but we view it as a question of both autonomy and identity,” Shrestha said.

Shrestha informed that his party had pressed for a directly elected President or directly elected Prime Minister, but the NC still advocated improved parliamentary system where the Prime Minister would be elected from the Parliament.

Shrestha said the UML’s stance on forms of governance was not clear. “On the electoral system, we stuck to our respective positions. We are for multi-member direct proportional election system, but can go for multi-member proportional representation election system. The NC still favours directly elected Lower House,” he added.

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