Nepal extends deadline to form government

DVBP538 4 P 0221 NPL /AFP-VP80 Nepal-politics-government Nepal extends deadline to form government KATHMANDU, Aug 21, 2011 (AFP) - Nepal's president extended the deadline Sunday for forming a national unity government after the prime minister's resignation plunged an already paralysed political process into crisis. "The political parties could not meet the deadline today given to form a national unity government. So ... President (Ram Baran) Yadav has allowed parties until Wednesday to agree on a national unity government," Rajendra Dahal, press adviser to the president, told AFP. "The president also urged the leaders to keep in mind the looming deadline for the constitution drafting," Dahal said, referring to the expiration of parliament's term on August 31. Nepal emerged from 10 years of civil war in 2006 and elected an assembly two years later to write a constitution, but has failed to agree on the new charter despite many extensions of the deadline. Last Sunday Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal resigned, blaming the political deadlock over the country's peace process and constitution. Khanal, chairman of the Unified Marxist Leninist party, was elected in February after a damaging seven-month leadership vacuum as the parties failed to agree on a consensus candidate. dee/je AFP 211351 GMT AUG 11