Kathmandu, May 3:
Following a regular meeting for two weeks and a day-long intensive discussions, the three major parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) Thursday midnight signed a 5-point agreement to conclude constitution writing and formation of the long-cherished national consensus government.
As per the decisive agreement, the national unity government will be formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai within two days.
The new constitution will be promulgated before May 27, the deadline of the Constituent Assembly term.
Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai will resign to pave the way for a Nepali Congress (NC) led national consensus government before promulgating the new constitution. The NC-led government will hold general election within a year.
The parties will strive to find a meeting point on remaining two disputed issues, form of governance and state restructuring, of the new constitution for three days, but, if they failed to resolve the dispute, it will be put for voting in the Constituent Assembly (CA).
The major parties and the UDMF have agreed to complete remaining tasks of peace process as per the previous agreements while top leaders of the political parties will hold regular meetings to accelerate tasks of constitution writing.
“In this context of resignation from all the members of Council of Ministers, a new consensus government will be formed within 2 days under the leadership of Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai as per the 7-point agreement,” read the first point of the agreement undersigned by UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, NC president Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and UDMF representative Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar.
The major parties and the UDMF had on Nov 1 last year singed the 7-point agreement which had accelerated the stalled peace and constitution building process.
The top brass leaders of the major parties had on different occasions since Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 pointed at the need of consensus government.
“It is a very significant
agreement. It has formed the basis for constitution building,” remarked Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai after the 5-hour long intensive meeting held at Special Committee Secretariat office in New Baneshwor.
UML chairman Khanal commented that the agreement was a great achievement, a departure. “It has boosted confidence that the new constitution will be promulgated.”
NC general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula termed the agreement a culmination of previous agreements including the historic Comprehensive Peace Accord.
Sitaula informed that the parties had no big difference over the size and nature of the Cabinet to be formed.
Maoist vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha viewed that the agreement would promote politics of consensus.
He said all the ministers had resigned to ensure the new constitution.
While the meeting was underway, all the ministers representing the ruling UCPN-Maoist and UDMF had submitted their collective resignation to Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai.
Despite their agreement on Wednesday to form the unity government on Thursday, the ruling and opposition parties had differed on explanation of ways to form the consensus government.
The parties had informed that they had agreed on formation of national consensus government and that such a government would be led by Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai until the new constitution was promulgated.
The ruling coalition partners, UCPN-Maoist and UDMF, had argued that the Wednesday agreement meant a reshuffling of Council of Ministers whereas the opposition parties, NC and UML, held that it meant dissolution of the present Cabinet and formation of a new government, albeit under Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai himself.
“We hope there is agreement by this evening (Thursday). Otherwise we will take a different route (no-confidence motion) about the prime minister. On constitution, we will either make agreement or go to the House for voting,” NC vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel had said after the inconclusive afternoon meeting.
However, UDMF coordinator and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bijaya Gachchhadar had expressed confidence that there would be agreement by the evening.
The afternoon meeting had, however, entrusted Maoist chairman Prachanda, NC general secretary Sitaula, UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and UDMF representative Gachchhadar with responsibility to formulate a document of agreement on formation of national unity government and settlement of remaining contentious issues relating to the new constitution.
Earlier in the morning, the ruling coalition partners had decided to move ahead by making maximum efforts to give the present government a shape of national consensus and perform every possible responsibility for the same.
The meeting that was held at Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Baluwatar was focused on the agreement reached on Wednesday among the major political parties for the formation of national unity government and concluding the constitution writing process.
Talking to the journalists after the meeting, officiating Chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Republican) and Minister for Information and Communication Raj Kishor Yadav said the present government would not be dissolved but reformed into the national unity one.
Minister Yadav said the present government would promulgate the new constitution.
“Our serious attention has been drawn to the news published/aired in different media regarding the formation of unity government. This government will not be dissolved,” he added.
Minister Yadav stated that opposition parties like NC and UML would join the government to give it a form of national consensus.