There's not much room to hope for a solution, given the record of major political parties on agreeing to what is needed but not acting on it. Developments since last week point to a coalition government of the Maoists, UML and Upendra Yadav faction of the Madhesis. While a Maoist-UML combine (with 347 members in 601-strong parliament) alone is enough for a government of simple majority, the Forum's support would add 25 members.
However, even with the backing of smaller parties that have pledged their support to the Maoists, the coalition will still be short of a two-thirds majority, a requirement to endorse the new constitution as well as to amend the interim one, if needed. The Maoists, the UML and the Forum disagree very sharply on crucial aspects of the new constitution and we won't be surprised if the coalition, if at all, will hold for long.
The sparring between UML and the Maoists even before the ink had dried on their 3-point agreement last Friday shows how fragile these deals are.
This points to the need of taking the Nepali Congress on board. The onus is on the two communist parties to reach out to the NC, which has not taken too kindly to the Maoist-UML pact, and for the NC's own Ram Chandra Poudel to withdraw from the race on Sunday in return for a credible Maoist promise to honour past commitments.
Peace and the PM, PUBLISHER'S NOTE