Print Edition - 2015-02-24 | Nation
Informal dialogue offers rapproachment hopes
Feb 23, 2015-
The cros0s-party leaders have begun informal discussion on the disputed issues of new constitution, signalling hope of rapprochement between ruling and opposition parties.
There have not been formal negotiations between the two sides since Constituent Assembly (CA) formed Questionnaire Committee on January 25 amid protest from UCPN (Maoist), Madhes-based parties and fringe parties, though informal negotiations are taking place at various levels. The opposition bloc is unwilling to sit for formal negotiations, demanding that Prime Minister Sushil Koirala should assure them that the constitution would be drafted on the basis of consensus.
“Though discussions are underway on the alternatives to settle the disputes, there has not been any progress yet,” CPN-UML Secretary Pradeep Gyawali said.
Leaders from both ruling and opposition parties have said that informal talks are underway on federalism and electoral system. The discussion is focused on five districts-- Kailali, Kanchanpur, Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari-- regarding the federalism. On the electoral system, talks are centred on the percentage related to proportional electoral system and first-past-the-post. Cross-party leaders believe that holding formal talks will be meaningless if there is no progress on contents of new constitution.
Opposition party leaders say they want informal agreements on contents of new constitution before their planned mass protest in Kathmandu on February 28. They say if there is no agreement they will have to unveil second round of protest.
“We are making efforts to forge consensus on the contents of new constitution before our mass protest,” UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha said. If agreement is not reached February 28, Shrestha warned, the situation
could complicate, further polarising the ruling and the opposition parties.
The ruling parties and Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang are in favour of initiating the voting process in the CA if there is no breakthrough in the immediate future.
To bring the opposition to negotiation process, senior CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal is holding talks with UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-chairman Shrestha on the contents of the new constitution. Nepali Congress Vice-chairman Ram Chandra Poudel is also reaching out to the opposition leaders in an effort to convince them that the constitution would be issued based on consensus.
The leaders from both ruling and opposition sides say there is no chance of formal talks resuming before February 28. Opposition fears that their movement would weaken if there is a formal negotiation before the date While the ruling parties believe that Dahal has no alternatives to join the constitution drafting process, the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist and some parties in the 30-party alliance are pressing Dahal to leave the CA and invest his attention and effort to make the opposition’s protest effective. “Dahal is gradually losing command in the party as well as 30-party alliance which has created some problems,” Gyawali said.
He claimed there many parties in the 30-party opposition alliance that want to join the ongoing constitution drafting process.
Dahal: Stop voting process in CA
KATHMANDU: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has blamed the ruling parties’ reluctance to stop the voting process in the Constituent Assembly as the reason behind stalled formal talks.
Addressing a mass gathering of cadres in Kathmandu on Monday, Dahal said the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML should together initiate efforts for resuming talks by stopping the voting process. He also instructed his party cadres to prepare for their February 28 protest in the Capital. The Maoist chair also underlined the need of consensus among the key stakeholders of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and 12-point understanding on key disputed issues of the new constitution. (PR)
Published: 24-02-2015 09:04