NC, UML for voting if no deal by Thursday

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Apr 19, 2015-

The ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have reached an understanding to start the voting process in the Constituent Assembly on the contentious issues of constitution-writing after Thursday if their “final effort” at consensus goes futile.

A joint meeting of the parties, attended by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, on Sunday reached the decision as several rounds of formal and informal meetings have so far failed to sort the disputed agendas.

Leaders attending the meeting, however, said they would try to find a solution on federalism, the most debated issue, before the CA meeting starts.

The meeting has been postponed until Thursday to provide time for the parties to settle the contentious issues in consensus. The session on Sunday passed a condolence motion on the demise of CA member and former prime minister Surya Bahadur Thapa. He was the senior-most member of the Constituent Assembly who administrated the oath of office to the incumbent lawmakers.

“Both the parties are one on starting the CA proceedings to resolve the disputed issues if the talks due to be held in the next couple of days fail to bear fruit,” said NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha. “Leaders want to complete the constitution writing process as soon as possible.”

The CA, which has prepared a questionnaire on the disputed issues, has not started voting yet in order to encourage the parties to settle them through broader consensus. CA Chair Subas Nembang has been extending the deadline for consensus since February 12. In the nine weeks since then, parties have little to show in agreement.

Shrestha said the process to resolve the disputed issues through vote and drafting of the agendas resolved so far might start after Thursday. Both the parties want to develop a new CA calendar. But PM Koirala has some reservations about announcing the new statute promulgation date without forging an understanding among the parties on how to federate the country. UML has been pressing the NC to announce a new deadline. Koirala wants talks continued even if the CA process starts, the NC chief whip quoted the PM as saying.

“Chief whips will request the CA chairman to start the proceedings,” said UML leader Ishwor Pokhrel. As part of their efforts to find an agreement on federalism, second-rung leaders from the major parties have extensively discussed how the row may be resolved.


Will boycott process: Maoists

KATHMANDU: The UCPN (Maoist) has warned of boycotting CA meetings if the ruling parties press for voting on the disputed issues of the new constitution. The party is of the view that since the major forces are “close to a deal” on the disputes, there should be serious attempts to resolve them through broader consensus.

Maoist leader Agni Sapkota said the opposition parties had suspended their protest programmes for the sake of consensus. He added that the party is ready to adopt flexibility for ending the longstanding logjam in the statute drafting process. “Problems will not be resolved simply from the process without finding consensus on the basics of the new statute. We protest the voting process and will not be part of it,” said Sapkota. “Talks between the second-rung leaders of the ruling and opposition parties have shown there are not many disputes left to resolve. The ruling parties are being arrogant about their two-thirds majority [in the CA],” (PR)

Published: 20-04-2015 08:54

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