KATHMANDU: Three major political parties — Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML — and Unified Democratic Madhesi Front today settled the disputes related to judiciary, reaching an understanding to set up Constitutional Court headed by chief justice for five years.
Although, the leaders kept their cards close to their chest on some issues, particularly the forms of governance, they, however, clearly said they would reach agreement on majority of the five issues — federalism, forms of governance, election system, judiciary and citizenship — by tomorrow afternoon before the Constituent Assembly meeting convenes, said Maoist negotiator Khim Lal Devkota.
Leaders from the UCPN-M-led coalition also claimed that they were nearing on the mixed forms of governance — directly elected president and prime minister to be elected by the Parliament. “We are for making the Parliament strong like that in Finland,” said Tarai Madhes Democratic Party leader Hridayesh Tripathi.
However, NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi said they were discussing the forms of governance from a different viewpoint and the parties are yet to settle the differences. According to Congress leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Constitutional Court will exist for five years with the jurisdiction of looking into only the disputes relating to the rights of a federal unit, between or among the units and between a unit and the centre.
“Previously, there was a demand that the court should look into even other general issues of the federal units, but today we tentatively agreed to confine the court to only the rights of the federal units,” he said. The Constitutional Court will not be parallel to the Supreme Court and it will not intervene into jurisdiction of the SC.
“We have agreed on the proposal of Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to set up the court for five years ensuring international democratic norms. However, the procedure of forming the court is yet to be finalised. The appointment in such a court should be apolitical,” said another senior Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba.
According to Nidhi, the parties agreed to provide citizenship certificate even from the mother’s name.
Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato said the NC and the UML were more positive in today’s negotiations and they would probably reach consensus on the contentious issues by tomorrow.
Unlike past negotiations, where the NC and the UDMF were divided on many issues, these two forces had common view on citizenship. The UML wanted to do away with the present provision where a foreigner woman married to a Nepali man gets naturalised citizenship after 35 days. The UML advocated that woman and man marrying a Nepali citizen should wait for five or 10 years to get Nepali citizenship but the NC and the UDMF opposed the proposal. The parties were finally in agreement to grant citizenship to children of Nepali citizens on the ground that their father and/or mother are Nepali citizens.