Parties to get more time for accord

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KATHMANDU, APR 03 – Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang is unlikely to begin the voting process from the CA meeting scheduled for Monday, in order to provide more time for the parties to forge consensus on the key disputes of constitution writing.

According to sources, Nembang will hold a brief session, and will postpone the meeting for a specified period while asking the parties to find accord on the disputed agendas. Meanwhile, he is in informal talks with the opposition parties, urging them to cancel their three-day general strike that begins on Tuesday.

“I have not yet set the business for Monday’s meeting with a hope that the parties will find an agreement,” Nembang said.

The 30-party opposition bloc has said it is ready to suspend the entire agitation programme including the three-day shutdown if the April 6 CA meeting is postponed to give more time for consensus-building.

Opposition leaders say they are in favour of dialogue and want the contention settled in consensus. They argue that the cancellation of the protests scheduled for this week was aimed at creating an atmosphere for consensus but the ruling parties did not reciprocate the gesture.

Leaders of the agitating parties are calling for further suspension of CA proceedings that include voting on the disputes. They have also proposed a new calendar to draft the constitution in consensus.

“If the majority process is put on hold briefly, we are ready to reconsider our protests,” said Maoist leader Agni Sapkota. He added that although PM Sushil Koirala seems to favour consensus he had not been taking any concrete steps in that direction.

The opposition’s planned banda from April 7-9 has drawn criticisms from sections of leaders and cadres from the UCPN (Maoist) and the alliance members. MJF-Loktantrik Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar has spoken publicly against the closure.

Nembang has warned that he would be compelled to begin the CA process if the parties make no progress in deciding the disputes in consensus. “Accord is the top CA priority. If there is no consensus on the contents, the parties should agree on a course of action. If they fail to do both, the CA will move ahead on the basis of laws and regulations,” said Nembang.