CA-turned-Parliament completes term

  • Top leaders hail constitution promulgation as historic achievement, say stage set for the implementation of the charter
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Oct 15, 2017-The Legislature-Parliament held its last meeting on Saturday, four years after it was elected as the Constituent Assembly in a precursor to the country’s journey towards federal democracy, which is expected to complete after the two polls in November and December. 

After the dissolution of the first CA, elections for the second assembly were held on November 19, 2013 with the task of completing the job of drafting a new constitution, the first attempt for which was made in the country some seven decades ago. 

As hopes were fading that the second CA, comprising 601 members, would once again fail to draw up a new charter, the country was rocked by a 7.8 quake on April 25, 2015, which prompted the ever-squabbling political forces to come together to rush through a new constitution on September 20 that year amid protests by some sections of the society and Madhes-based parties. 

Nonetheless, it was a historic achievement on the part of the CA, as the new constitution ushered in a new era, abolishing the centuries-old monarchy to put the country on the path of federal democracy.

After the constitution promulgation on September 20, 2015, the CA had automatically turned into the Legislature-Parliament. 

“I would like to congratulate and thank the President, all the lawmakers, government officials and concerned stakeholders for the successful tenure of the Legislature-Parliament,” Speaker Onasari Gharti told the House before announcing its suspension at Saturdays’ meeting, which was called for bidding farewell to all the lawmakers. 

The transformed Parliament held 666 meetings and enacted 56 crucial laws.

Four prime ministers were elected in the last four years, while the country got its first female President on October 28, 2015. Four months after the promulgation of the constitution, which saw protests along the plains that claimed more than 50 lives, Parliament on January 23, 2016 amendment the charter to address the concerns of the Madhesi and Janajati parties that have said the constitution discriminates against sections of the society. The government’s yet another bid to amend the constitution as demanded by the Madhes-based parties, however, failed on August 21 this year. 

During its two-year tenure post-constitution, Parliament passed some landmark bills including the one criminalising the centuries-old Chhaupadi custom and the Health Insurance Bill to ensure universal health care. 

Passage of the bill to replace the decades-old Muluki Ain (General Code) with civil codes, criminal code, civil and criminal procedures was also one of the major achievements of Parliament. Similarly, law to guide the function of the local level, laws for the formation of different inclusive commissions and adjustment of the civil servants in three tiers of government were also some major achievements. 

However, it also passed some controversial bills like Education Act (Ninth Amendment) Bill. Its failure to endorse the Health Profession Education Bill may prove detrimental to the country’s health education sector.  While speaking at the last meeting of Parliament, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said: “We (as CA earlier and Parliament now) did a great job which will be written in golden letters in the country’s history.” He also called on the parties to join hands for the country’s development and prosperity. 

CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli lauded the role played by all elected representatives in promulgation of the constitution. “This House as the CA completed a historic task by promulgating the constitution. The upcoming elections will help us move towards development and prosperity,” he said, adding that these achievements would not have been possible had all the parties not joined hands for the common goal. 

In his address, CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said promulgation of the constitution which was his party’s major demand was a landmark step. He also claimed that the Maoists played a crucial role in promulgation of the constitution which he said “has lots of progressive provisions”.

Parliament had 592 members when it ended on Saturday. 

Published: 15-10-2017 07:43

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