Ruling parties to hold formal talks with oppn

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Mar 12, 2015-

The ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are set to hold “make or break” talks with the opposition parties on Saturday to seek consensus on the disputed issues of the constitution writing process that was derailed after the January brawl in the Constituent Assembly.

Leaders attending the meeting said they will hold issue-wise discussions and will push for voting in the CA if consensus is not built in the latest attempt too.

The decision comes two days before the expiry of the UCPN (Maoist)-led opposition alliance’s warning to start the second round of agitation against the

government. Ruling party leaders said they would try their best to adopt

maximum flexibility for consensus on the unresolved issues of the statute drafting process.

“Of four major disputes, three issues have been tentatively resolved and we want to frame the new constitution through consensus soon by deciding the names and borders of federal states,” said Nepali Congress leader Mahesh Acharya.

Despite agreement on the forms of government, electoral system and judiciary, the parties are still at odds over the federal model.

Leaders attending the meeting claimed Friday’s talks would be “decisive” in terms of resolving the disputed issues in consensus.

“Since we have narrowed down many issues, the next meeting will be more focussed,” said Acharya.

In a meeting of the two coalition partners on Thursday, leaders reached an understanding to restart dialogue with their previous position of forming an independent commission to resolve the alignment of the five districts--Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari in eastern region and Kailali and Kanchanpur in the Far West--while federating the country. Leaders said they are ready to discuss the proposal to define the districts as a “union territory”—to be governed directly by the Centre until an alternative is agreed upon.

The UML, however, stressed the need to stick to the two parties’ 9-pt joint proposal. The two largest parties have registered a 7-province federal model with parliament-elected prime minister as the head of government. “People have not opposed to our proposal so we believe it is acceptable to all,” said UML Chief Whip Agni Kharel. He, however, said they are not attending the meeting with an alternative proposal on the disputes. Suggesting CA voting as a possible alternative in the lack of political consensus, NC spokesman Dilendra Prasad Badu said, “We cannot wait forever in the name of consensus.” Even though it has not been formally announced, the ruling parties, which command the two thirds majority required to push through a statute in the 601-member Assembly, want to promulgate the new charter on May 29, Republic Day, at any cost. The Jan 22 deadline set earlier was missed. “May 29 is our second target. We will decide the disputed issues through voting if consensus remains elusive this time as well,” said Kharel.

Published: 13-03-2015 08:26

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