Nepali Times
New countdown


Like all other multiple-point agreements, the 5-point agreement was only useful in averting a constitutional crisis just before dawn on 29 May. No one is surprised it has already begun to unravel.

The consensus everyone says is still elusive. Maoist hardliners disowned the agreement, the prime minister said he never meant he'd resign right away. And the whole thing is a mirror-image of last year's drama with Madhav Nepal. So, one week on and the clock is ticking again, and there is no indication anything has changed on the political front for us to be optimistic about the 28 August deadline. Even if Jhal Nath Khanal resigns, it seems forming a new government will take longer than the three-month deadline for the constitution.

The only opening is that the NC says it will agree to Pushpa Kamal Dahal as prime minister if he moves on decommissioning and integrating his fighters. But the Maoist chairman is under severe internal pressure not to do so, and also squeezed by a newly-powerful Madhesi bloc in the house.

Although the CA committees immediately resumed the task of a draft constitution this week, progress will be hampered by continued deadlock in power-sharing. What needs to happen is for the political leaders to respond to a very negative public mood and prioritise the peace process and constitution writing in the coming weeks. If Nepal's leaders keep haggling over power, there will soon be no power to haggle over.

Dewan Rai

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