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Nepali parties request president to extend deadline for consensus gov't

(Xinhua)

10:02, August 22, 2011

KATHMANDU, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The all-party meeting on Sunday decided to request Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav to allow the political parties three more days time for consensus building, less than an hour before the expiry of the deadline set by the State Head for the formation of a consensus government.

Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M) Vice- chairman Narayankaji Shrestha, who was present in the meeting, informed the media about the decision.

The meeting, under the initiative of Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, had been called after the prospect of a consensus government grew dimmer despite a series of negotiations for the government leadership held over the past few days.

Nepali Congress's (NC) senior party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and UCPN-M Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai are vying for the top post. The PM's party, the Communist Party Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), which led the past two successive majority governments, has opted to stay out of the contention this time around.

As per existing constitutional provision, the President as the Head of the State will have to call for a parliamentary vote for a majority government if the bid for a consensus government fails.

All top leaders of the three major political parties -- UCPN-M, NC, CPN-UML -- along with those from the United Democratic Madhesi Front, the alliance of five-Madhes-based parties, and other fringe political parties are participating in the meeting.

President Yadav had given a five-day deadline to the parties to form a national unity government. The deadline expires Sunday afternoon.

PM Khanal resigned on Aug. 14 under pressure from the opposition parties and a section of leaders from his own party the CPN-UML.

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