Taskforce seeks more time

  • CA Chair Nembang, ruling parties under pressure to resume talks with opposition forces
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Taskforce seeks more time

Feb 4, 2015-

The Questionnaire Committee of Constituent Assembly (CA) formed to prepare questions on disputed issues of new constitution has sought five more days to accomplish its tasks.

The CA meeting called for Thursday is likely to extend the committee’s tenure, but pressure is mounting on CA Chairman Subas Nembang and the ruling parties to put off the panel’s task and resume talks with the opposition parties. The opposition parties have already announced to boycott the meeting.

The committee had started its work on Saturday, forming a separate sub-committee for formulation of Terms of References and questions. According to committee members, they are yet to draft questions on the most contentious issues—federalism and forms of government. Leaders say they need extensive consultations to make questionnaires on the two crucial issues.  

Although the committee has prepared objective questions on preamble of new constitution, fundamental rights, constitution amendments and legislatures, committee members say, it would take time to prepare objective questions on federalism given the complication of issues.

Cross-party leaders say they are also planning to initiate dialogue among parties on contentious issues of the new constitution.  

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) has already boycotted the committee meeting after the ruling parties turned down its proposal to include questions on secularism, federalism and republicanism.

RPP-N CA member Bhaskar Bhadra has threatened to obstruct the House session by surrounding the Assembly well to press their agenda. It is unclear what steps the CA chairman would take if the RPP-N obstructs the House. In the normal parliamentary practice, the House will remain stalled if opposition lawmakers stay in the well. But the chairman can table any proposal in the CA meeting amid protest from the opposition parties.

Two weeks ago, Nembang endorsed the Questionnaire Committee amid obstruction from the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties. But he has since told top leaders of the ruling parties that it will be tough to move ahead without consensus among the parties. Second-rung leaders of the ruling parties, international community, among others, have suggested that a statute that comes through a consensus among major political forces will be an enduring one. In his recent article in a national daily, former general secretary of Parliament Surya Kiran Gurung has said the CA chair  had committed a mistake by forming Questionnaire Committee himself. “As the Maoists and Madhes-based parties have announced not to attend the CA process, the comittee’s tasks should be put off to resume talks,” Gurung said, warning that a constitution promulgated through two-thirds majority will lack a broader political ownership.

Oppn bloc decides to shun CA meet

The UCPN (Maoist)-led 19-party bloc has decided not to attend the Constituent Assembly meeting scheduled for Thursday. Earlier, the Maoists alone had decided to shun the meeting.

The alliance leaders maintain that as there has been no effort to forge consensus, the meeting holds no significance. The meeting is likely extend the Questionnaire Committee’s deadline which is expiring on Thursday.  The opposition alliance has also boycotted the meeting of the committee, arguing that it was formed despite their reservation.

The meeting on Wednesday also criticised CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli for making “irresponsible remark” against the opposition, saying that they would call off their protest if they are paid off.

“We will focus on strengthening the protest programme and not participate in the meeting until there is an environment for consensus,” said Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav.

Earlier on Tuesday, the opposition front had indicated at abstaining from the meeting.

The alliance has already declared protest programme against the decision to form the committee. It has also directed its CA members to reach to their respective constituencies to make preparations for the protest programme.

Published: 05-02-2015 09:17

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