103 lawmakers register 24 revision proposals

  • Most of them in line with Madhesi Morcha demands
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
Laxman Lal Karna says they will study the amendments before deciding whether to join the amendment process

Jan 8, 2016-Lawmakers of around a dozen political parties, including the Nepali Congress and the UCPN (Maoist), have registered proposals seeking revisions in Constitution Amendment Bill in line with the demands forwarded by the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha. 

A total of 103 lawmakers from different parties registered 24 proposals, seeking amendments to three Articles to ensure proportional inclusive representation and delineation of electoral constituencies prioritising population. 

The ruling CPN-UML and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal have not registered any amendment, while four parties under the Morcha boycotted the process.

Amendments sought by NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi, Farmullha Mansoor, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch (Tharuhat) and Nepali Janata Dal (NJD) address a majority of the demands of the Morcha regarding proportional representation in state bodies and allocation of electoral constituencies. 

The proposal registered by Nidhi seeking amendment to Article 84 (1) calls for adopting population as the main basis for both first-past-the-post and proportional representation systems in the federal legislature. Against the existing provision, which envisions at least one constituency in each district, Nidhi’s proposal seeks allocation of seats based on population size. His proposal seeking amendment to Article 286 calls for formation of Electoral Constituency Delineation Commission to work in the spirit of his proposal to amend Article 84.

If his proposal is endorsed, there will be 83 seats, out of 165 under first-past-the-post system in the Tarai, which is in line with Morcha’s demand. 

The amendment proposal by Mansoor seeks to reduce the population clusters for reservation, as mentioned in Article 42, from 17 to 11. His proposal, largely in line with the demand of the Morcha, seeks to retain seven clusters from the Interim Constitution and add Tharu, Muslim, third gender and underprivileged. 

The amendments registered by the MJF-L also seek to lower the number of clusters to nine and allocate constituencies based on population from respective states, keeping in mind representation from rural hill areas. NC’s Minendra Rijal’s proposal is similar to MJF-L. Rijal also has sought allocation of constituencies based on states. 

Laxman Lal Karna, co-chair and parliamentary party leader of Sadbhawana Party, said the amendments seem to be “progressive” even though they do not “address what Madhesis actually want”. He said that they will study the amendments before deciding whether to take part in the amendment process. 

“We will decide our future course based on the progress made in the talks,” he said.

Leaders from Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, however, said the amendments that have been registered hold no meaning. Rajendra Shrestha, co-chairman of the party, said the amendments were registered “only to woo voters for the upcoming general convention of the NC”. 

According to Bharat Raj Gautam, spokesperson for the Legislature-Parliament, the House will form a special committee to study the amendments and forge consensus. 

Karna hinted that his party could participate in the special committee.

The next meeting of Parliament has been called for January 13 for clause-wise discussions. 

As there are differing view among lawmakers of the NC and the UCPN (Maoist) over the amendments, it is not clear how these parties will move the amendment process forward. 

Out of six proposals registered by the NC, proposals from Nidhi and Romi Gauchan Thakali do not conform. While Nidhi is against one electoral constituency in each district, Thakali has sought to keep present number of electoral constituencies in hills and mountain intact. “The NC is a democratic party and every lawmaker is free to register his/ her amendment. The party will forward the agenda based on how negotiations with the Morcha progresses,” said NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shreshta. 

Published: 08-01-2016 08:19

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