Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Big three finally reach understanding on "ceremonial" president and executive prime minister

After three days of intense behind the scene negotiations, the top leaders of the three largest parties in the Constituent Assembly - CPN (Maoists), Nepali Congress and Unified Marxist Leninist – have on Tuesday finally agreed to provision for ceremonial president and executive prime minister following the declaration of the country as a republic through the first meeting of Constituent Assembly slated for Wednesday.

In a meeting that resumed Tuesday morning at Prime Minister's official residence in Baluwatar, there was breakthrough in the protracted talks after CPN (Maoist) party, which is poised to lead the next government, finally relented and agreed to provision for a ceremonial president to serve as the country's Head-of-state.

The discussions from Sunday dragged on till today after Maoists had been remaining firm on their stance on either executive president or prime minister serving both as executive chief as well as officiating Head-of-State till new constitution is drafted.

"As per the agreement, the president can exercise his powers to resolve any constitutional or political deadlock and fulfill other normal presidential responsibilities. The three parties have also agreed that all executive powers would be vested on the prime minister," said Jhalnath Khanal, general secretary of the UML.

The parties have also decided to recommend the government to give public holiday from May 28-30, declaring it as a national celebration to herald the republican set up in the country.

The top leaders had broken off their talks on Monday after the Maoist side took a firm stance against constitutional amendment, arguing that there is no need to amend the two-thirds provision in it for deposing the Prime Minister

According to Khanal, after the first meeting of the CA implements republic on Wednesday, there will be a one week recess before another meeting will take place. "During that one week, we intend to resolve other major differences like on the issue of amending constitution to replace two-third provision with simple majority and so on," Khanal said.

He said that following the republic implementation, the royal flag will be replaced with national flag at the royal palace

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