CA gives parties another week for accord-building
KATHMANDU, APR 14 – The meeting of the Constituent Assembly has been postponed until next week to provide time for the parties to settle contentious issues of constitution-writing in consensus.
The CA meeting on Monday was adjourned after passing a condolence proposal on the demise of former parliamentarian Salim Miya Ansari. The Assembly is now scheduled to meet on April 19.
Chairman Subas Nembang decided to provide one week of extra time after the major parties claimed that they were close to consensus on key issues of the new constitution.
He was scheduled to start the majority process in the Assembly on Monday but he postponed the plan at the request of both the ruling and opposition parties.
Leaders have been discussing various alternatives on federalism, with an aim to agree on six to eight states. On the alignment of the disputed Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts, they are weighing options such as forming a commission, keeping those districts under the Centre and holding referendums there.
Once the row over federalism is resolved, informed sources said, there could be accord among the parties on the forms of government, judiciary and electoral system. Second-rung leaders of the major parties have provided various alternatives to the top leaders for a deal.
The parties are also discussing new CA calendar but there has not been a final agreement. The Nepali Congress in particular maintains that there should not be any deadline until an agreement on the disputed issues is in place. The ruling parties have also proposed preparing a draft of the new constitution even though there is no agreement on federalism.
Nembang held a meeting with the top leaders on Monday in order to press the parties to reach consensus during the CA break. CPN-UML Chair KP Oli, however, was absent from the meeting. “I told the leaders that the CA cannot wait beyond next meeting if there is no consensus,” said Nembang.
UCPN (Maoist) Chief Whip Giriraj Mani Pokhrel said the absence showed Oli’s “unwillingness to find consensus” on the disputed agendas. UML Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal, however, said Oli was busy with a pre-arranged programme.