Nepal's Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has said he had no choice but to announce elections for a new Constituent Assembly (CA) after other parties neither accepted a Constitution with identity-based federalism nor agreed to extend the CA's term.

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu at his residence on Sunday, Mr. Bhattarai summarised the events on the final day of the CA's term.

“The Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) wanted a Constitution without federalism. That is the core issue. Madhesis, Janjatis [ethnic groups] and Maoists very rightly opposed that. It was my ‘lifetime dream' to make the CA successful. I made every effort to save it, including contemplating a state of emergency to extend its term, but there was no cooperation,” he said.

At a time when other parties are urging President Ram Baran Yadav to assume an active role, the Prime Minister emphasised that his was a “fully constitutional and legal” government, while the President was a “ceremonial head.”

Dr. Bhattarai made a strong push for elections, terming them the “only democratic alternative.”

Adding that this was an “internal political process,” Mr. Bhattarai said India, China and the international community had played a “neutral and constructive role.”

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