Nepal’s finance minister claims army’s acceptance of govt decision to sack Army Chief

May 3rd, 2009 - 10:13 pm ICT by ANI  

Kathmandu, May 3 (ANI): Nepal’s Finance Minister and senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai on Sunday claimed that the army had accepted the “new leadership” that was taking over command following the government decision.

“The army command has already accepted the new leadership and everything is moving ahead normally,” Bhattarai told media persons after a brief meeting with five fringe parties Sunday afternoon.

Bhattarai’s announcement could be viewed as an attempt to allay fears that the Nepal Army might go against the government’s decision to remove its Army Chief Rookmangud Katawal,

“Our army is a disciplined army and we were quite confident that just because few individuals were undisciplined the entire army was not like that. And today’s series of events has proven this right,” Bhattarai said,

“The entire army is united and has firmly stood behind the government’s decision. The new leadership has already taken over the army’s command. If you don’t believe me then you can check it yourself.”

Meanwhile, an “all-party” meeting called by the main opposition Nepali Congress immediately following Maoist-led government’s decision to sack Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rookmangud Katwal called it unacceptable, as it viewed the government’s move being against the “spirit of the [interim] constitution and the ongoing peace process”.

The meeting held at NC parliamentary party office in Singha Durbar also decided to urge President Ram Baran Yadav to “right” the wrong decision of the government and defend the [interim] constitution.

Prakash Sharan Mahat, the Nepali Congress leader, accused the Maoists of breaching past agreements and understandings and said that the 17 political parties, having representation in the Constituent Assembly, had decided to hit the streets against the Maoist-led government’s decision.

Mahat also informed that during the meeting there was also discussion to take a no-confidence motion against the Maoist led government in the Constituent Assembly.
However, the ruling CPN-UML which boycotted today’s cabinet meeting which decided to sack Katawal, including MJF did not participate in the meeting as both parties were engaged in internal meetings of their own to come up with their respective strategies following the government’s decision.

Meanwhile, a senior Maoist leader has dared political parties to bring a vote of no-confidence against the government his party leads.

“Army chief Rookmangud Katawal was removed taking appropriate legal measures to uphold civilian supremacy,” Maoist Central Secretariat member Tap Bahadur

Rayamajhi said speaking at a program organized in the capital today, “so we are prepared to face the vote of no confidence that will be brought against our government by making that [sacking of Katawal] an issue.”

Rayamajhi, however, said the door for formation of an alternative government is now open, and dared rival political parties to show their mettle by forming a new government.

As possibility of UML opting out of the government increases following the government’s unilateral decision, Rayamajhi said Maoists are quite capable in running the government alone.

Rayamajhi further claimed that the previously wayward Nepal Army has formally “come under control” from now onward. (ANI)

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