Ruling coalition meeting deferred by two hours to 5pmThursday’s meeting is said to be a decisive one as failure to build consensus on MCC could lead to the alliance’s breakdown.
The ruling coalition’s meeting scheduled for 3pm on Thursday to “build consensus” on the Millennium Challenge Corporation-Nepal Compact tabling has been postponed to 5pm.
Thursday’s meeting is said to be crucial as it could break the seven-month-old coalition.
“A meeting between Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Dahal on Thursday morning decided to defer the meeting by two hours,” said Ramesh Malla, an aide to Dahal.
He said the meeting was delayed by two hours to 5pm because of the prime minister’s tight schedule.
Prime Minister Deuba on Wednesday backtracked on his plan to table the MCC compact after the Maoist Centre threatened to pull out of the government.
Deuba and Dahal then agreed to hold a meeting of the ruling coalition on Thursday for a last-ditch effort to build consensus.
The Maoist Centre as well as the CPN (Unified Socialist) and Rastriya Janamorcha of the ruling coalition are against the tabling of the US grant meant for building electricity transmission lines and improving roads in Nepal.
The Janata Samajbadi Party, another coalition partner, is divided with a section led by former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai standing in support of the MCC compact.
“If the Maoist Center and CPN (Unified Socialist) do not change their positions on the MCC compact, they can vote against it. But they should allow the government to table it in Parliament,” said Nepali Congress spokesperson Prakash Sharan Mahat. “The deadline to ratify MCC is approaching fast. We cannot cross the February 28 deadline. Our senior leaders are meeting today and this will be the decisive one. We will listen to coalition partners and take our decision accordingly.”
After continued delays by Nepali politicians on ratifying the compact, a frustrated Washington started building pressure, asking Nepal to either take it or leave it.
The United States over the past days communicated to the Nepali leadership that it wanted to see the compact ratified by February 28, a deadline sought by Deuba and Dahal.