Nepal extends deadline for Maoists to name lawmakers


KATHMANDU: Nepal’s election commission Wednesday gave the former ruling Maoists a five-day extension to propose members of a new parliament, a day after the party finally agreed to join the assembly.

“We have extended the deadline until December 30,” election commission spokesman Bir Bahadur Rai told Agence France-Presse as he confirmed that the Maoists had requested more time to agree on a list of lawmakers.

All parties had been meant to submit names by December 25 and it is the third extension granted by the commission.

The composition of the constituent assembly has been in limbo since November 19 elections when the Maoists were beaten into third place, prompting them to allege fraud and threaten to boycott the parliament.

But after weeks of cross-party negotiations, the Maoists announced on Tuesday that they would take part in the assembly, which will serve as a legislative body and will also draw up a new post-war constitution.

The Maoists waged a decade-long civil war and then forced King Gyanendra to stand down. They took power in the Himalayan nation after winning elections in 2008.

The intervening years however have seen a string of short-lived administrations which have broken down amid bickering among all parties over the terms of a new constitution.

The Maoists won just 80 of the 575 seats up for grabs in November’s poll, well behind the centrist Nepali Congress party which won 196 and the Unified Marxist-Leninists which got 175.

Twenty-six Maoists have already been directly elected to the assembly, but under the terms of Nepal’s hybrid electoral system, the party can nominate a further 54 lawmakers.

A new government, which is expected to be led by the Nepali Congress, will nominate a further 26 members to join the 601-member assembly.



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