The Nepali Congress, which emerged the largest party in the Constituent Assembly polls, today asked the Maoists and other political parties to join a coalition government to be formed under its leadership.
"We want the Maoists and other political parties to join the coalition government to be formed under our leadership," Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala told PTI at his residence at Maharajgunj on the outskirts of Kathmandu. "I have talked to UCPN-Maoist chief Prachanda and CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal and sought their cooperation in drafting the Constitution," he said. "I have also held talks with other political parties regarding the matter." The Nepali Congress bagged 105 seats of the 240 directly elected seats in the November 19 polls but lacks a clear majority to form government on its own.
The CPN-UML was the second largest party with 91 seats followed by Prachanda's UCPN-Maoist, which grabbed 26 seats in the 601-member Constituent Assembly. However, the Maoists have threatened to boycott the Constituent Assembly. "If we follow democratic tradition, the Nepali Congress should lead the next government as the people have given a mandate to form a government under the leadership of Nepali Congress," Koirala reasoned.
He said the issue of governance and federal structure - that led to the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly elected in 2008 without drafting the Constitution - would be settled through negotiations. "The matters relating to the forms of governance and federal structure need to be settled through dialogue before promulgating the Constitution," Koirala said. "My emphasis is to include all the political parties in the process of drafting the Constitution, and there should be collaboration, consensus and cooperation among the parties in this matter."
Koirala said he did not think there would be "big disputes" among political parties in drafting the Constitution as they had settled most of the contentious issues during the first Constituent Assembly.
The Nepali Congress favours a parliamentary system of governance in which the Prime Minister is accountable to the parliament as this is good to keep checks and balances on power, Koirala said. "We do not favour the presidential system, which may lead to a kind of dictatorship in a country like ours," he cautioned.