Prez seeks statute with state borders

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Prez seeks statute with state borders

Jul 10, 2015-

President Ram Baran Yadav on Friday advised four major political parties to promulgate the new constitution only after the delineation of provinces, a key demand of the leaders from Madhesi and Janajati constituencies, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s stay order.  

Inviting heads of the ruling and opposition parties to his office at Sheetal Niwas, President Yadav expressed his dissatisfaction at the major parties’ decision to promulgate the new charter without resolving the federalism row, and by suspending some constitutional provisions to speed up the process.

“If there are any reservations about the court order, let’s resolve them through appropriate procedures but the court cannot be ignored,” the President’s Office quoted Yadav as telling the leaders.

Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, UCPN (Maoist) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhesi Jana-dhikar Forum (Loktantrik) Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar were invited for the meeting on Friday morning two days after the Constituent Assembly endorsed the statute draft.

The draft has been sent to all the 240 electoral constituencies to seek people’s feedback for the next two weeks. President Yadav also asked the leaders to leave no room for dissatisfaction in the name of speeding up the process.

During the two-hour meeting, President Yadav enquired the top leaders how the demands of the disgruntled parties would be addressed and the representation of women, Dalit and marginalised communities ensured in the new statute.

The President reportedly told the leaders to guarantee press freedom and to ensure balanced roles among key state agencies—judiciary, executive, legislature and security bodies, mainly the Army. He also asked them to resolve the disputes before promulgating the new constitution. Pointing to complex geo-politics, leaders were advised to hold national integrity and sovereignty high before promulgating the new statute.

The suggestions from the head of state come at a time when frictions are growing between four major political parties and a section of Madhes-centric and other regional forces are at odds whether the constitution should be promulgated without resolving all the issues related to federalism.

According to notes of the conversation provided by the President’s Office, Yadav urged the leaders to exhibit statesmanship. Underlying the need for bringing both the political forces that boycotted the constitution writing process and those which have been voicing dissatisfaction at the preliminary constitution draft, Yadav suggested that the parties should seek broad support in the constitution writing process.

In the 16-point agreement, four major parties have agreed to federate the country into eight provinces and demarcate their borders after statute promulgation on the basis of the suggestions of a Federal Commission.

Some Madhes-based parties are opposing the accord. The four parties, which have the majority required for endorsing the constitution from the CA, are determined to finalise the statute and form a new government within a month. The parties have also agreed to elect key officials including the President, Vice President, prime minister and Speaker shortly afterwards.

President Yadav clarified that his insistence on forging consensus on the constitution should not be taken as his desire for prolonging his tenure. “If you have any doubt [about my resignation], please bring me a blank paper. I will put my signature on it. Constitution promulgation will be the happiest moment for me,” he said.

In 2008, an NC leader Yadav was elected the head of state for two years but he is still in power as a result of the prolonged political instability. The Interim Constitution has no provision to elect a new President unless the new statute is promulgated.

Concerned with media reports that the provisions of press freedom were curtailed in the draft constitution, President Yadav asked the leaders not to compromise on it. In response, the leaders are learnt to have assured the President that they would address genuine concerns.

“We the chairmen of four political parties assured President Yadav that the new constitution will be promulgated on time with maximum consensus,” said Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik Chairman Gachhadar.

Published: 11-07-2015 09:22

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