Even before Nepal’s government sets the date for Constitutional Assembly elections, the breakaway Maoist party, CPN-Maoist, has vowed to disrupt them if Chief Justice and Prime Minister, Khil Raj Regmi, does not resign and the government is not replaced by a “national unity government” formed by the political parties.
“We reject the March 14 agreement and the constitutional amendments made by the President,” said Pampha Bhusal, CPN-Maoist spokesperson. “We urge the President to convene a roundtable conference as soon as possible to form a new government.”
Mr. Regmi became Prime Minister (parties refer to him as the “Chairman of the Interim Election Government”) on March 14, following the agreement among three major parties and a coalition of Madhes-based parties to hold polls, preferably by June 21.
Mr. Regmi’s government, however, has yet to declare the date, citing the disruptions created by 33 smaller parties, including the breakaway CPN-Maoist. Particularly hit has been the voter registration drive with the Maoists vandalising equipments used by the Election Commission in more than 25 of Nepal’s 75 districts. Bowing to the pressure from the CPN-Maoist and opposing parties, the Election Commission decided on Monday to halt the biometric voter registration drive.
Besides the smaller parties, the umbrella body of Aadivasi Janajati groups, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (Nefin), is also unhappy with the March 14 constitutional amendment, which reduced the seats allocated for proportional representation of Aadivasi Janajatis, Dalits, Muslims, women and other marginalised groups.
Appeal for cooperation
Reacting to the opposing parties, the government formed a talk team on Friday to negotiate with them and appealed for cooperation to hold elections. Similarly, President Ram Baran Yadav on Saturday urged the parties behind the March 14 agreement to reach out to the smaller parties and create an atmosphere conducive to polls.
But the opposing parties promptly rejected the government offer, insisting that they will only hold talks with the President, and not a government they consider to be “illegitimate”.
Speaking to The Hindu, the adviser to the President, Rajendra Dahal, said the President would comment only after the CPN-Maoist proposed something concrete. “It appears their stance to talk only with the President is for public consumption only,” he added.