This has poisoned the atmosphere and made it more difficult to forge a consensus on the seven pre-conditions that the NC put forward to join the government. Of these, the main sticking points are whether the Maoists should get both president and prime minister, and whether the voting process should be with a simple or two-thirds majority.
"How can a person commanding his own separate army be a president?" asks constitutional expert Nilambar Acharya. Because Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had already proclaimed himself president he wants both posts, but Acharya insists a party that won only one-third of the seats in the assembly has no right to make that demand.
The Maoists decided on Thursday to accept a non-political personality for presidentship. But a Maoist faction wants to keep Baburam Bhattarai out at all cost, and some in the NC are rooting for Prime Minister Koirala being elevated to ceremonial president. And to complicate things even further the Maoists say they want Koirala to resign first before they form a government.
"We are even willing to consider the simple majority proposition if he steps down," senior Maoist Ram Karki told Nepali Times. The army seems happy as long as it doesn't have a Maoist president as commander-in-chief.
Acharya says all this is posturing, and the real issue is of power-sharing. "Once that is addressed, everything else will fall into place. The Maoists essentially have to reassure the other parties that they are a democratic, non-violent force."
Dewan Rai and Subhas Devkota