Maoists ask CA chair not to start majority process

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KATHMANDU, APR 12 – Pledging priority for dialogue over street protests, the UCPN (Maoist) on Saturday requested Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang not to initiate the voting process in Monday’s CA meeting.

The main opposition is of the view that Nembang could postpone the meeting, after endorsing some minor agendas, for some time to provide time for consensus on the contentious issues of constitution-writing.

The Maoists said although the parties had not made headway towards settling the contentious issues, there is still hope for consensus. The party has underlined the need for continued talks that are aimed at finding common ground mainly on federalism. The CA meeting was postponed by a week on Monday to facilitate consensus-building.

Maoist Chief Whip Giriraj Mani Pokhrel conveyed the message to Nembang. Pokhrel requested him to call a meeting of top leaders of major parties on Sunday and set some business for Monday’s meeting.

“If the voting process is initiated immediately, it will spoil the environment of negotiations,” said Pokhrel. “Though firm in his stance, even CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli is positive about finding broader consensus on the key disputes,” Pokhrel said.

Nembang has publicly said he could provide more time if the parties make serious efforts at settling the contention in consensus. But, if there is no accord, he would be obliged to push the majority process.

The ruling and opposition parties are engaged in talks with alternatives on the table to settle the federal row. The Maoist, Madhesi and Janajati parties, which recently concluded their second phase of agitation, are still undecided about their next round of protests.

The UCPN (Maoist) has hinted that it would not announce further protest programmes if the majority process is halted for some time. After the CA endorsed a questionnaire on the disputed issues, the parties got one-and-a-half months for talks but they did not utilise the time properly.