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Seeking Consensus In Nepal

Nepal's major political parties are discussing forming a new government.

In a move that could salvage the country's fragile and nascent democracy, Nepal's major political parties are discussing forming a new government. The talks follow a decision by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to step down after 13 months of political infighting. The United States is watching the situation carefully and encourages all sides to continue constructive dialogue and reach an agreement for the greater good of their nation.

Mr. Nepal took office when his predecessor, Pushpa Kamal Dahal,himself resigned in a conflict over the army's chief of staff. A special Constituent Assembly elected in 2008 to draft a constitution is serving as a national legislature. No political party there commands a majority, however, and their efforts to draft a constitution – the first since Nepal abolished its monarchy two years ago –have foundered. Acknowledging this, Mr. Nepal stepped aside hoping a coalition might be formed to complete the job. Under the peace settlement that ended a Maoist-led rebellion in 2006, the country faces a deadline of next May to finalize its constitution.

The United States believes it is vitally important for the peace process to go forward. Continued stalemate benefits no one. Mr. Nepal's departure provides a chance for the various elements in Nepalese society to come together and reach an agreement that allows for the process to move forward and return stability to their country. Hopefully, the parties will recognize this opportunity and use it.