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Nepal president sets coalition deadline

  |   May 5, 2009 at 12:41 PM
KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 5 (UPI) -- Nepal's president says he has set a Saturday deadline for the country's political parties to come up with a new consensus government.

President Ram Baran Yadav, who precipitated a constitutional crisis by reinstating the army chief fired by the country's Maoist prime minister, Tuesday asked Nepal's 25 parties to form a ruling coalition by Saturday to fill the void left by the resignation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the Indo-Asian News Service reported.

But analysts said the effort seemed doomed because a meeting called by Nepal's Marxist-Leninist party to start the process was boycotted by the Maoists and another former ruling alliance member, the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum.

"We will not attend the meeting," Maoist spokesman and lawmaker Dinanath Sharma told IANS after the parliamentary wing of his group discussed its new strategy. "We have also decided not to allow the interim parliament to conduct regular proceedings until army chief Gen. Rookmangud Katawal is sacked and the unconstitutional step taken by the president is rectified."

Protests denouncing Yadav's move erupted in Kathmandu and elsewhere as Maoist cadres burned the president's effigy, IANS reported. Pranchanda fired Katawal over his alleged refusal to integrate Maoists into the armed forces.

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