Nepal Today

Friday, March 1, 2013

RULING, OPPOSITION PARTY LEADERS EXPECT A BREAKTHROUGH AGREEMENT FRIDAY Kathmandu, 1 March: The Big Three and the five-party Madesh Morcha Friday meet for the second time in two consecutive days to finalize a package agreement to install an ‘election government’ led by Chief Justice Khil Regmi. The proposal is controversial and had drawn widespread criticism. Senior opposition NC and UML leaders have admitted publicly they support the proposal to ‘oust’ the entrenched government of Baburam Bhattarai in office now for more than 18 months even amid internal opposition in the parties. Government and opposition party negotiators said Thursday night they expect a breakthrough agreement Friday pn a package agreement. nnnn . . MEDIA GOOGLE “I bowed my head to touch the ground three times, offered khada (Buddhist prayer scarves) and planted prayer flags as soon as I reached the top.. . “Nowhere has it been written that women should not climb mountains,” (Reuters quoting Chhurim Sherpa, first woman to climb Everest twice in a week. Now attempting to climb seven tallest summits in seven continents.) nnnn . LEADERS DISCUSS A PACKAGE FOR APPOINTING A CHIEF JUSTICE-LED GOVT. Kathmandu, 1 March: Top leaders of four major political forces have agreed to finalise a package deal on forming a chief justice-led government before the first week of March, The Kathmandu Post writes.. Te agreement comes amid speculations that a major political breakthrough still remains elusive as a case challenging the proposal to form a CJ-led government is currently under consideration in the Supreme Court. The apex court on Sunday referred the case to a special bench that will sit on March 7. The court also asked President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to furnish written explanations by March 5 on why they plan to form a CJ-led government . Talks among top leaders of the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, at the New Baneshwor-based office of the army integration Special Committee, agreed to expedite talks to hammer out a deal “as soon as possible.” “We are aiming at an agreement on forming an election government led by the chief justice before March 5,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Maoist Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha.Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal put forth a proposal to constitute an election Cabinet before the apex court’s March 5 deadline to furnish the explanations. Sources claimed that senior UML leader KP Oli has supported the proposal. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who has been facilitating dialogue between CJ Khil Raj Regmi and the four major political forces, reportedly said that Regmi too wants the government formed before the scheduled hearing in the SC. When asked, an NC negotiator declined to comment on whether the new government would be formed before or after the apex court verdict. The negotiator, however, said the NC wants a package deal so that President Yadav can end the deadlock by exercising his powers to clear all constitutional hurdles at a single time. A Maoist negotiator said top leaders are confident that the apex court will not turn down their decision to form a CJ-led government . The eight-member cross-party taskforce, which drafted a 12-point proposal for a package deal, was present in Thursday’s four-party talks. Leaders have yet to strike an agreement on passing the proposed ordinance on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the determination of ranks for integrated former Maoist combatants, the distribution of citizenship cards and the update of the voters’ list ahead of the elections. NC Vice-President Ram Chandra Poudel said parties will continue talks on Friday in a bid to settle the “few remaining issues.” nnnn ELECTION ORDINANCES UPDATED Kathmandu, 1 March: The Election Commission ( EC ), which is awaiting the appointment of commissioners and the clearance of legal and constitutional hurdles for early polls, has readied and updated election ordinances to be forwarded by the government to the President for promulgation, The Kathmansu Post reports.. The electoral ordinances, which had already been forwarded to the government previously, have now been updated to suit the changed context in direct coordination with the Ministry of Law, said EC officials. The formulated ordinances include the Electoral Roll Act (2063), the Election Commission Act (2063) and the Constituent Assembly Act. The EC has been holding frequent consultations with the Ministry of Law over the ordinances. In the absence of parliament, political parties have agreed to promulgate electoral acts by removing the difficulties. However, the government still needs to amend provisions in the Interim Constitution to hold fresh Constituent Assembly polls. “Apart from day-to-day affairs, the Commission has prepared drafts of electoral ordinances except for amendments to the Interim Constitution,” said Madhu Regmi, chief of the legal department at the EC . In attempts to materialise the government’s plan to hold polls in early June, the Commission has been continuing its voter registration campaign and conducting training on voter education. “We are doing our best but we are in dire need of commissioners and the clearance of constitutional and legal hurdles,” said Regmi. The EC had prepared a 92-day plan to hold polls on June 5, the date proposed by the cross-party task force for fresh CA elections. Only 97 days remain to the proposed deadline. EC officials said the government’s plan for June elections will largely rely on when the political parties reach an agreement on the polls. Nnnn INDIA INCREASES ASSISTANCE FOR NEPAL Kathmandu. 1 March: India Thursday announced increased annual financial assistance. The increased allocation was included in India’s annual budget presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaran in parliament Thursday. India has set aside Irs.3800 million in the annual budget for 2013/14—up from Irs. 2700 million the previous year. Budget allocation for Maldives was cut this year by New Delhi television and radio reports said. nnnn


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