Kathmandu, May 5 (IANS) Nepal’s embattled Prime Minister K.P. Oli on Thursday addressed Parliament and assured political parties that he was not going to recommend dissolution of the House, after the Maoists decided not to pull the plug on his government.
After key ruling alliance, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the second-largest constituent in the ruling coalition, warned of withdrawal of support, and later on Thursday agreed not to do so, the prime minister addressed Parliament to clarify and defend his position.
Citing several issues ranging from non-completion of the peace process to corruption and failure to expedite the post-quake reconstruction work, the Maoists abruptly decided to pull out support from the government on Wednesday.
However, on Thursday they arrived at an understanding to allow the Oli government to continue.
Addressing the House on Thursday, Oli said he was ready to accept criticism against his government, including those expressed in parliament over the last couple of days. He said he had taken them as warnings against him and the cabinet.
However, he clarified that he did not favour dissolution of parliament to escape the criticism.
Speculation was rife in Kathmandu that Oli will dissolve the House if the Maoists withdraw support.
Oli maintained that he was ready to quit on the day he loses majority in parliament. The prime minister said he was ready to give the shape of a national consensus government to the present Cabinet itself.
“Today, too, we need consensus,” he said. “Let us maintain the national consensus and change the government.”
Maoist chairperson Prachanda earlier in the day dropped his idea to become the prime minister after he failed to garner support from across the political spectrum on forming a national consensus government.
“Neither me, nor my party will obstruct the national consensus,” Oli said, adding that consensus should be forged on the basis of national interests.
Oli, however, pointed out that raising demands for a consensus government and a strong opposition simultaneously are logically incompatible.
He was referring to reports which claimed that the main opposition Nepali Congress wanted to form a national government under the leadership of UCPN-Maoist chairman Prachanda.
Apparently referring to Nepali Congress, Oli said he was always for consensus, but “some other political parties deviated from consensus and remained stubborn on moving ahead”.
Oli clarified that the incumbent government was not “designed somewhere else”. He said “many forces were trying to bring instability in Nepal” and major political forces needed to sit together and hold meaningful discussions to combat them. “I want to call the main opposition for this,” he said.
During the speech, Oli repeatedly expressed readiness to seek a solution to contemporary political problems through consensus. However, he accepted that the government was not able to control black marketing and regulate the supply system.
He defended the Constitution promulgated last year and the procedures adopted in its promulgation. He also informed that the first amendment to the Constitution was also a need of the time to offer the nation a way out from the political crisis.
The prime minister clarified that rewriting of the Constitution, as demanded by some Madhesi political parties, was unacceptable to the government.
The Constitution, written by the Constituent Assembly, can not be rewritten, but can be amended to address timely needs, he maintained.
The prime minister also informed the House about major steps taken by the government to implement the Constitution.
He maintained that the government was carrying out the task of Constitution implementation at a speedy pace.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)