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Prime Minister addresses the nation, won’t resign yet.

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
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The date for elections declared by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on 27 May came and went on Thursday. Normally, a government that can’t hold elections as scheduled has to resign, but Bhattarai has resisted pressure from the President, opposition parties and rivals within his own party to cling on.

In Thursday’s address to the nation, Bhattarai sought to buy more time by saying he would “accelerate efforts” to work for a consensus among the political parties to form an election government. This was as per an agreement made by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and President Yadav to get Bhattarai to take immediate steps on a consensus government to set the date for next elections in return for passing the partial budget this week.

Saying “I want to tell it to you like this”, Bhattarai laid out a list of achievements in the peace process despite the “fierce” obstacles he faced from the opposition. He said he was willing to “make any sacrifice” in order to achieve an all-party consensus for elections by April, but fell short of directly saying he would step down.

The opposition have already flagged the address as empty and vowed to bring down the government through protest. NC and UML leaders had been urging the President to ask the government to resign after deadline for holding elections declared by the government expired on November 22. But Bhattarai not only got the budget approved by the President, he has now given himself another extension. The opposition can only lick its wounds and has no choice but to keep communication channels open even as it forces itself onto the streets.

However, most are skeptical that an agreement on a consensus government that eluded the main parties for six months will suddenly happen in two weeks.

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