Nepal heading towards crisis as parties fail to end deadlock

There was no progress in talks as we demanded that the Maoists must lay down their arms before getting our support to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly that expires on May 28, main opposition Nepali Congress' leader Ram Sharan Mahat said, adding the Maoists did not agree to it.

Both the parties put forth their policy and nothing came out from the meeting, he told PTI after talks involving Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal, Maoist chief Prachanda and Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala.

Nepali Congress, the second largest party in parliament has stepped up pressure on the Communist-led government to quit due to its failure to promulgate a new constitution ahead of the expiry of the term of the House.

Amid growing fears of a political vacuum and a constitutional crisis, President Ram Baran Yadav held consultations with top leaders, including the Prime Minister, Prachanda and Koirala.

The President asked them to reach a consensus and move forward the peace process to resolve the current political statement, sources said.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Assembly could be extended only for six months, as against the government's decison to ammend the constitution for a one-year extension of the Parliament.

The term of the Assembly should not be extended for indefinite period, the apex court had cautioned.The Communist-led coalition government has registered a constitution amendment bill in parliament proposing a one-year extension for the 601-member Assembly, whose term was extended last year in a bid to prevent a constitutional crisis.
The government needs the support of the opposition parties to ammend the constitution.
However, they have put forth a 10-point demand, including that the Maoists must lay down their arms and agree to a modality for the integration of their former combatants with the army, dismantle their paramilitary youth wing, Young Communist League, and return the seized property during the decade-long insurgency by the Maoists that eventually ended in 2006.

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