UML firm against charter revision bill

  • Leaders say govt trying to endorse amendments without main oppn
- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu

Jul 10, 2017-At a time when the governing parties have announced to expedite the constitution amendment process, the main opposition CPN-UML has said it will not support the bid until the amendment proposal tabled in Parliament is withdrawn and a new one drafted in consultation with it.

The UML has said it cannot accept the amendment proposal prepared solely by the ruling coalition to address the demands of the agitating Madhes-based parties and the Janajati forces led by the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal. The main opposition has urged the Nepali Congress and the CPN (Maoist Centre) to hold dialogue with all the parties on the need for constitution amendment.

Though the ruling alliance was expected to hold a meeting with UML leaders, no such development happened on Sunday.

“The government has not initiated formal talks. The ruling coalition seems to be in a mood to muster a two-thirds majority in Parliament for endorsing the amendment bill,” said UML Spokesperson Yogesh Bhattarai.

“The ruling coalition wants to take credit by ousting us from the process. And if they fail to get the bill endorsed it will be the UML that will be discredited,” he added.

The RJP-Nepal too had issues with the amendment bill, said Bhattarai, stressing consensus in the process. He credited the UML’s victory in the first two phases of local level elections, including in Tarai districts, to the unpopular move of the ruling parties. The party expects a similar scenario in the third phase polls even if the ruling parties went unilaterally in the amendment process.

The governing coalition is scrambling to secure 396 votes, a two thirds majority in the 593-strong Parliament, to pass the constitution amendment bill. 

The UML-led opposition block that comprises the CPN-ML, Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party, Rastriya Janamorcha, Madhes Samata Party, Janamukti Party and the Nepa Party commands 196 votes. The NC-led government has started dialogue with the forces including the Rastriya Prajatantra Party that has 37 MPs for the required numbers.

UML leader Subas Nembang said he was surprised to see the move of the ruling parties when Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and former PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal had said time and again that the constitutional amendments and increment in the number of local federal units in Province 2 would follow the third phase of local elections scheduled for September 18.

The RJP-Nepal, which boycotted the first two rounds of local polls, applied on Friday for party registration, inching a step closer to participation in the upcoming polls. The party, however, has warned it will not join the polls if its demand for charter amendment is not met.

Published: 10-07-2017 07:56

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