HLPC to seek agitating parties’ ‘bottom line’

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
HLPC to seek agitating parties’ ‘bottom line’

Jun 17, 2013-

A meeting of the High-level Political Committee (HLPC) on Monday decided to ask senior leaders of the four major parties to seek the ‘bottom line’ of the agitating political parties to address their demands.  

During the meeting, the four political parties delved into increasing the number of seats under the proportional representation (PR) system to address the demands of the agitating parties. “As of now we are sticking to 11-point and 25-point agreements. But we could address their demands if there is any indication of their meaningful engagement in the election process,” said a senior Maoist leader.   

The HLPC meeting, however, question whether the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal led by Upendra Yadav and the Ashok Rai-led Federal Socialist Party-Nepal really wanted to postpone the November 19 polls. “The agitating parties holding meaningful talks depend on how effective protest would be. They could boycott the polls altogether if they see some mileage from the protest,” said the Maoist leader.  

The meeting also decided to ask the agitating parties to give up their protest programme and join in the electoral process. “The HLPC meeting decided to create a conducive atmosphere for holding the election on November 19 at any cost,” said Nepali Congress Vice-chairman Ram Chandra Poudel after the meeting.  

NC and UML leaders criticised the UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai’s recent remarks that ‘the government and the HLPC should be prepared to rethink on increasing the share of PR seats’ to bring most of the agitating groups into the election process saying it is against the spirit of March 13 cross-party agreement to limit the PR seats to 240 under the PR system.  

The leaders said that they were not against meeting the demand of the agitating parties—increasing the PR seats—but expressed fear that making such a position public would not be beneficial for the HLPC. The 11-point deal signed among the four major parties that led to the formation of the incumbent government has a provision of 240 seats under the PR along with retaining as many seats under the first-past-the-post system.

In the last CA polls, there were 325 PR seats out of the total 601 seats. The Yadav- and Rai-led parties have been demanding 60 percent seats under the PR system in the new Constituent Assembly along with Chairman of Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi’s resignation from the post of Chief Justice. But the senior leaders maintained that dissolution of the HLPC and resignation of Regmi cannot be made an agenda for the discussion with agitating parties. However, two of their demands have been met. While the government has done away with the threshold provision, it has also formed Constituency Delimitation Commission for the reworking of the constituencies.

 Informed leaders of the agitating parties maintained that the major parties have been sending feelers to them for holding talks. “The parties in the HLPC are approaching us in an informal way,” said FSPN leader Ajambar Kangmang Rai.

Published: 18-06-2013 09:25

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