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Nepal struggles to shape a government that can govern

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For the three years following the election of the assembly, the political parties have been deadlocked on key constitutional provisions such as the political model the country should follow, the method for electing the president and prime minister, the basis for federalism, and the number of combatants to be accommodated by the Army.

But with the amount of political bickering and jostling over these tasks, there is little optimism in Kathmandu that politicians will now put aside their own interests and work toward a larger national interest.

“Given the past track record of political parties, there is little to hope from the deal,” says Yubaraj Ghimire, former editor of the Kathmandu Post.

“Their [parties’] interests converge at one point: prolonging the life of the assembly. That’s what they did. And the Maoists have won once again, given the monopoly they have enjoyed in interpreting past agreements,” Mr. Ghimire adds.

The Maoists, who fought a 10-year armed insurgency that ended with the signing of the peace accord, were elected in 2008 as the largest force in the assembly that doubles as parliament. The insurgency cost more than 17,000 lives, according to government’s revised figures.

Their dominant presence in the parliament gives them an edge on rival parties in pushing political agendas. But they don’t command a majority, which explains Nepal's three coalition governments in as many years.

Sunday’s was the second term extension for the assembly. In May, 2010, the country was pulled back from the brink of the political unknown by extending the assembly's life for a year. Seven months were then spent in electing a new prime minister, and four months in agreeing on allocation of ministerial berths.

Ending a brutal war just four years ago, the Maoist political party has shown reluctance to fully disband its fighting force, instead keeping it in order to push political concessions. It has complicated political calm by repeatedly missed deadlines to settle the future of their combatants.

Postponing crisis

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