Chances of new statute by Jan 22 slim: Bhattarai

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Dec 13, 2014-

UCPN (Maoist) senior leader and Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (PDCC) Chairman Baburam Bhattarai on Saturday said new constitution by January 22 depends on the willpower of the leadership of major political forces. He said though the chances of final constitution within the time appear slim, preliminary draft can be brought if there is an agreement among major stakeholders within a couple of days.

Bhattarai said though ruling parties, of late, have realised that there is no alternative to consensus among, at least, major stakeholders of the peace process, there has not been substantial progress on disputed issues of new constitution: federalism, form of government, electoral system and judiciary.

He appeared confident that new constitution will be drafted though it is not possible by January 22 in terms of process. Informing that parties are preparing to form a cross-party taskforce incorporating some experts to work out on contentious issues, he said ruling parties are not still ready to embrace the aspirations of change.

Bhattarai said new federal structures should end the current ethnic, language and regional disparities, and the ruling parties are yet to realise this in the inter-party discussions.

He said the joint proposal presented by Nepali Congress and CPN-UML has failed to address the issues of identity and the essence of federal debate. He asked the ruling parties to accept the basis of identity and capability while federating the country. “It seems that issue of federalism is concentrated on names and number, but the core issue is the principle or ideology of federalism,” he said.

Amid claims by some leaders that UCPN (Maoist) is ready to accept the parliamentary model, Bhattarai flatly rejected it saying that its official position is that there should be directly elected president. “For the sake of new constitution, we are ready to adopt flexibility but it is not true that we would accept parliamentary model,” he said, adding that it would be better to go for directly elected president or prime minister for stability after federal structures are created.

Bhattarai, however, said that they can accept mixed model for a certain period as a compromise. On electoral system, the Maoist ideologue said parties could agree on mixed model ensuring the proportional representation of oppressed and margnalised communities. He also did not see a big dispute on the federalism. He said all the contentious issues will be resolved in a package.

He also ruled out the possibility of forming commission to settle the contentious issues of new constitution.

On the power sharing, Bhattarai said ruling parties should settle this issue. He, however, said current government could be transformed into a national unity one if parties agree on fundamental issues of new constitution.

At a time when parties are engaged in dispute about resending the disputed issues to the PDCC, Bhattarai said there is no other platform to hold discussions. “But, I do not mind if parties forge consensus in other places,” he said.


Published: 14-12-2014 09:17

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