NC, UML leaders at odds over new calendar

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KATHMANDU, JUN 17 – The Constituent Assembly (CA) Secretariat is struggling to finalise the new calendar for constitution writing as the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML leaders are divided over the issue of duration.

While the UML and the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led faction of the NC are insisting that the first draft of the constitution should be issued by mid-July, the NC faction led by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala say the proposed date is not a definitive deadline because there are “some key steps” that must be followed in the drafting process which could take some time.

NC leaders close to the Koirala camp say processes like deliberations of reports in the full House and collection of pubic feedback can take time and these steps should not be compromised in the name of fast-tracking the constitution drafting.

NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha said there shouldn’t even be a debate regarding new calendar becasue the CA process has already been fixed in the rules of procedures.

“After the full House endorses the first draft of the constitution, the Committee on Citizens Relation and Public Opinion Collection will take 15 days to collect the opinion of people on the draft of constitution,” said Shrestha, explaining that meeting the mid-July target is practcally impossible.

UML leader Pradeep Gywali, however, said that the parties had agreed to fast-track the process in the 16-point deal reached on the night of June 8, and it was indeed possible to promulgate the first draft of the constitution by mid-July.

The UML and the Deuba-faction of the NC say that Koirala and his supporters are trying to prolong the term of the incumbent government by refusing to accept the date.

Also, the Deuba camp wants early exit of Koirala from the government, considering the upcoming NC general convention.

In his interview with the Kantipur Television on Monday night, Koirala had said that though he was in favour of adopting fast-track approach to draft the constitution, he was not okay with the idea of compromising the procedures just to cut corners.