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HLPC agrees to conduct round-table conference to bring dissenting parties ob board

KATHMANDU: With the positive development for holding the elections of the Constituent Assembly in November, the high-level political committee (HLPC), the cross-part taskforce formed to support the Chief Justice led election government, and the 33-party alliance led by Mohan Baidya’s CPN-Maoist have agreed, in principle, to hold a ’roundtable conference’ to reach a political agreement.

The two sides will finalize the process and date of the roundtable—a key demand of the CPN-Maoist—after carrying necessary homework for two days. The cross-party committee is in favor of inviting only the parties represented in the dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA) but the alliance has been trying to include other political parties and civil society members in the conference.

“Today’s meeting agreed in principle to call purported all-party political roundtable which will determine the November 19 elections among other issues,” CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhya told reporters after the meeting.

For the political roundtable, the agitating CPN-Maoist led alliance, however, will have to agree on the November 19 elections and continuation of the incumbent government, according to the leaders. The two sides have been holding modalities for the roundtable conference within two days and finalize all contentious issues within that period.

Talking to journalists after the meeting held at the HLPC office, CPN-Maoist Chairman Baidya said the meeting was positive and the parties have reached an agreement in principle agreement to convene a roundtable meeting. He said the parties will sit for the roundtable after carrying out homework for two days.

UML leader Raguji Panta said the date for whether to call it a roundtable conference or all-party talks will be finalised once the parties agree on the procedure.

The alliance of 33 political parties had been demanding for a new agreement through a roundtable. The parties were demanding that the current interim election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi should be replaced with a partisan government, election procedure should be initiated in a new way and the 25-point decree on clearing the constitutional hurdles issued by president should be scrapped. The parties however yet to agree on key demands of dissenting parties like replacing the CJ led government and deferring the date for holding the elections of the constituent assembly.

However, the UML leader Raghuji Pant, who was present in the meeting described the proposed meeting as “all-party discussion”, not “roundtable conference” as demanded by the 33-party alliance. According to him, the two sides will finalize the procedures of “all-party discussion” after two days. The HLPC has already convinced the Upendra Yadav led Madheshi Front for taking part on the elections. The major political parties have formed the Chief Justice led election government for holding the elections of the constituent assembly. The international communities have also been supporting the elections of the constituent assembly.

Meanwhile, during the talks with HLPC the Federal Socialist Party Nepal(FSPN) has shown readiness to participate in the upcoming CA polls. FSPN General Rajendra Shrestha said the talks with the HLPC held on Thursday were positive.

“The HLPC and the government will do further homework within the next two days before sitting for another round of talks to create environment for elections.” The party has been demanding that the four-party committee should be dissolved and a committee comprising members from all the political parties should be formed and the number of Constituent Assembly members should be increased to 601.

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