Nepali Times Asian Paints
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Same old Nepal



NARENDRA SHRESTHA
UNJUST: Students protesting the hike in bus fares vandalised Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri's car. Giri was unhurt, and protesters said they thought it was a minister's car.
Multiple protests shut down much of the capital on Thursday as students demonstrated about the steep increase in bus fares, civil servants went on the war path over Forestry Minister Matrika Yadav's imprisonment of a staff member in a toilet, and Tibetans protested outside the Chinese embassy.

The protesters blocked the streets and set government vehicles on fire, and suddenly the new Nepal looked no different from the old.

But over at Baluwatar, for a change, there were signs that the three parties were finally inching closer to a deal. Three weeks after the country was declared a republic, the brinkmanship of the NC, UML and Maoists appeared to be entering its endgame after yet more negotiations.

Progress of sorts came after Prime Minister Koirala reportedly assured the Maoists he was ready to step down to make way for the formation of a Maoist-led government. But he quickly qualified that by saying he wanted it to coincide with a decision on the presidency.

"We are trying to make sure we get the process right," explained the NC's Minendra Rijal. "The PM will resign if the seven parties ask him to, otherwise who should he submit his resignation to?"

A formula is to be worked out in the next three months for the partial integration of the PLA into the national army, opposition parties will have membership of the constitutional council, a task force will monitor the return of confiscated property and a 15-day timeframe has been given to demilitarize the YCL. There has already been an agreement to amend the constitution allowing a simple majority to form and sack governments.

"Getting Koirala to resign is not the solution," says lawyer Bishwakant Mainali. "The seven parties should reach a political consensus on the president and prime minister."

However, by press time on Thursday there was still no agreement on who would be president. That decision has now been pushed back, to be discussed as part of a power-sharing package that will include the vice-presidency, the chair of the constituent assembly and ministerial posts.

By going for at least a partial agreement, the big three parties are trying to calm the restless smaller parties and also give the impatient Constituent Assembly members something to keep them occupied until the new government is formed.

And until this happens and someone takes charge, most analysts agree, the country's towns and highways will continue to be blocked by anyone with a grievance.

Dewan Rai



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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