Sunday, August 10, 2008

The wonderful and hardworking people of Nepal are STILL waiting: on the chance for a better life; decent roads; available and affordable petrol; and the consistent delivery of services like healthcare, education, literacy, utilities, waste management, clean water and sanitation, and security.

Is a government that works for the people too much to ask for?

Obviously so. The political parties have been deadlocked over power sharing since the abolition of the 240-year-old monarchy on May 28, and have yet to form the sorely needed new government.

Since a resolution through the consensus process has remained elusive, newly elected President Ram Baran Yadav, today, formally directed the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly to elect a new prime minister and government through a majority vote. Nepal's mainstream parties -- CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) -- failed to meet all deadlines to reach a consensus on a Maoist-led coalition. It seems they could not agree on the distribution of the key areas of defense, home and finance.

Here's the rub:
The CPN-UML party is pushing for a government of consensus rather than one formed by a majority. CPN-UML leader K. P. Sharma Oli said his party will not join a government led by CPN-Maoist if the Nepali Congress is excluded. It seems that the major parties are unlikely to lend support to a Maoist-led government unless they part with the crucial home and defense ministries. Conversely, the CPN-Maoist party needs the support of mainstream parties to form a government since they failed to get a majority in the landmark Constituent Assembly election.

Political leaders, however, have expressed the hope that there was still place for fielding a consensus candidate for the Prime Minister's post, with formal and informal consultations continuing among the mainstream parties. A key meeting of the CPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress today failed to end the deadlock over power sharing. The former rebels have rejected the demand that they part with control over the country's defense and security. Maoist chief Prachanda promised to come up with a final decision regarding their demand after holding internal meeting of the party.

Meanwhile, the people wait in 4-14 hour petrol lines, suffer through multiple load shedding events each week, depend on India to meet a percentage of their utility needs, walk around or through piles of garbage, drink unsafe water, use poorly sanitized facilities, continue to pay to educate their children despite only a slight chance of a decent job, work long and hard hours to harvest and gather food, work overseas to send $$$ back home, and feed the blackmarket just to survive.



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