13-19 December 2013 #685

Clearing the first hurdle

Rishi Dhamala, Ghatana ra Bichar, 11 December

Interview with NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat

Have you found a formula for consensus?

Nobody has an exact formula on how to go about forging consensus, but we believe holding discussions with various political players is the best method. The NC will organise official meetings with all parties. In fact, we have already begun preliminary talks. However, parties need to come on board without pre-conditions or intimidation.

But the UML seems adamant about changing the president and vice-president. How will the NC clear this hurdle?

We don’t understand why the UML is dying to amend the constitution. Bringing new people into these posts is not a relevant post-election scenario. If it was important, we would have discussed such possibilities when we drafted the 11-point and 25-point agreements. We don’t buy into the UML’s arguments, especially since the interim constitution has so clearly stated the rules for the president’s term. And the NC is not in favour of having presidential elections.

How can there be any consensus then?

This demand has been put forward only by the UML. There will be discussions on it. There may be other proposals, which might have their own points of compromise. We will talk through these possibilities.

UML leaders say they will remain in the opposition if the Congress doesn’t come up with a balanced power-sharing model.

That’s not a big deal. A strong opposition has a role in democracy. Even we might stay in theopposition. Remember the Maoists stayed both in and out of power during the last CA? The important thing is that the next government will be led by an alliance. If we can be in an alliance with everyone it would be ideal, because the responsibility of drafting a new constitution lies with all the political parties who won the elections.

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