4 forces agree to fast-track statute writing

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu
4 forces agree to fast-track statute writing

Jun 1, 2015-

Top leaders of four major forces—Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties—reached an understanding on Monday to promulgate a new constitution within a month and form a national government thereafter.

A meeting of top leaders of the parties held at Prime Minister Sushil Koirala’s residence in Baluwatar decided to prioritise constitution drafting over new government formation.

Parties plan to settle disputes mainly related to federalism within Thursday, when the Constituent Assembly meets, and promulgate the new constitution within the first week of July by fast-tracking the procedure.

After the meeting, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar said the leaders had agreed to prioritise thrashing out the contentious constitutional issues without further delay. “We are trying to promulgate a new constitution within a month and form a unity government to tackle the national crisis triggered by the April 25 earthquake,” said Gachhadar.

According to Gachhadar, the four political forces also discussed a compromise on the prickly issue of federalism. Top leaders have agreed to meet again, after consultation in their respective parties, for adopting flexibility on federalism.

In the meeting, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said his party was ready to adopt flexibility on the 10-province model. The NC and the UML reiterated their position that there should not be more than seven provinces.

NC and UML leaders said the constitution should be promulgated within a month even if details on federalism are not sorted immediately, according to NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel. If there is fundamental agreement on the numbers and tentative demarcation of federal units, the parties are preparing to form an expert commission to detail out federalism.

Though the UML and the Maoists were in favour of forming a national government first and then settling contentious statute issues, the largest party—Nepali Congress—refused to give up the government leadership.

The NC set its new position of promulgating the constitution within a month and handing over the government leadership. The UML and the Maoists plan to form a unity government first if there is no consensus within the next week. “As per the understanding with the UML during the government formation last year, the PM is ready to pave the way for a national government,” said NC spokesman Dilendra Prasad Badu.

UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai have been saying publicly that formation a government without involving the NC in it would not be helpful for constitution promulgation.

CA Chairman Subas Nembang said constitution can be promulgated within a month through a fast-track approach if the parties agree on the contentious issues even if it takes three months to complete the whole procedure. If there is an agreement on the statute contents, the parties are preparing to formulate a calendar for constitution promulgation and government formation.

Published: 02-06-2015 07:26

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