Nepal crisis deepens as deadline ends

Nepal crisis deepens as deadline ends

With the formation of a national unity government appearing unlikely by Saturday’s deadline, three ethnic Indian Madhesi parties, with a combined strength of 83 seats in Parliament, hold the key to breaking the political logjam in Nepal.

Major political parties were engaged in parleys and strategy sessions on Friday but finding the way out of the deadlock before the deadline set by President Ram Baran Yadav seemed unrealistic. The political crisis was sparked by Maoist premier Prachanda’s resignation after Yadav blocked his move to sack army chief General Rukmangad Katawal.

The Maoists were hesitating to support a government led by former ally CPN-UML and were not ready to join the new government under any other party’s leadership. Nepali Congress, the second largest party in Parliament, has said it will back a CPN-UML candidate for the post of prime minister.

“Our Madhesi front will support any party that is prepared to form a national government,” said Rajendra Mahato, president of Sadbhavana Party. Asked what will be the parties’ position if efforts to form a unity government fails, he said, “we will sit together and try to reach a common stance.” The Madhesi People’s Rights Forum has 53 seats in the Constituent Assembly, Terai Madhes Democratic Party has 21 seats and the Sadbhavana Party, 9.

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