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Nepal

Nepali parties give parliament three-month reprieve

Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar

Nepal’s warring political parties have agreed to extend the current parliament for three months, avoiding a constitutional crisis … for the time being, at least. The deal will see prime minister step down after just four months in office and a draft constitution produced before 28 August.

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Agreement was reached just before dawn Sunday after tense negotiations over the future of the 601-member Constituent Assembly.

Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, who was elected in February to head a coalition government, agreed to step down once a new power-sharing government could be formed, although no time frame was given.

The assembly was elected in 2008 and abolished the monarchy. It was given two years to draw up a new constitution and oversee the peace process that followed the decade-long civil war, which ended in 2006.

But the three biggest parties - the Unified Marxist-Leninists and the Maoists, who are in government, and the opposition Nepali Congress – are at odds over several key issues and a 12-month extension was agreed last year.

They have still been unable to come up with a draft.

Among the questions that must be addressed are:

  • The integration of former Maoist guerrillas into the national security forces;
  • Setting up a commission to investigate wartime rights abuses;
  • The creation of federal states where none exist at present.

The last few days have seen a number of demonstrations over the lack of progress in the country.
 

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