ARJUN BHANDARI/PRAKASH ACHARYA
KATHMANDU: The four major political forces — the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front — stuck to their guns today as well, stoking fears that parties will never reach a compromise on forms of governance and federalism, two thorny issues related to the new constitution.
With the parties refusing to budge from their stances, it appears that they will be left with no other option but to go for voting in the CA full House — scheduled for tomorrow — to decide all contentious constitutional issues.
Nonetheless, parties said they would make last-minute efforts to reach consensus on forms of governance and federalism at tomorrow’s meeting of the Problem Resolution Sub-Committee, formed by the Constitutional Committee, mandated to draft the new constitution, to resolve the disputed issues.
Things became more complicated after NC and UML insisted yesterday that the Baburam Bhattarai-led government should step down to pave the way for a national consensus government to be led by NC — that too before the promulgation of the new constitution.
“A national unity government cannot be formed without reaching an understanding on forms of governance and federalism,” said UDMF leader Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar. He added that it was almost certain that the disputed issues would be put to voting in the CA. According to CA regulations, the disputed constitutional issues will be settled through voting in the event of failure to garner consensus.
The CC prepares a first draft of the constitution based on the decision taken by a simple majority, but it requires a two-thirds majority to endorse the new constitution.
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, however, said they were yet to decide to go for voting as discussions on these issues were still going on.
NC negotiator Krishna Prasad Sitaula said even if the first draft of the constitution was prepared on a majority basis, it ultimately required a two-thirds majority to adopt the constitution. “So, there is no alternative to find consensus,” said Sitaula.
He quoted the prime minister as saying that the prime minister was ready to step down for the formation of a unity government if it was guaranteed that the new constitution would come into force on time. Sitaula admitted that there was a crisis of confidence after the UCPN-M and UDMF reiterated that the incumbent government should remain in office till the new constitution was adopted. Sitaula said NC and UML still stressed on the need to find consensus on the thorny issues even if it might take a few more days, whereas the Maoists and UDMF emphasised on settling those issue through voting.
He said the number of federal units and their names and unity government were the issues that remained unresolved. NC has proposed seven federal units while the Maoists have proposed 10 federal units, backed by the UDMF.
“We are more skeptical after the UCPN-M and UDMF decided this morning to continue with the incumbent government till the constitution is promulgated,” said UML negotiator Madhav Kumar Nepal, adding: “Their decision goes against the November 1 seven-point agreement, which calls for formation of a unity government before adopting the constitution.”
UCPN-M, UDMF to keep alliance firm
Kathmandu: The ruling coalition partners — the UCPN-M and UDMF — on Monday decided to keep their unity intact and continue with the Baburam Bhattarai-led government. A meeting of the coalition partners also decided to oppose the calls from Nepali Congress and CPN-UML to form a unity government, claiming that such a change at this time ‘will disturb the constitution- drafting process’. Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hridayesh Tripathi said the coalition partners were one on crushing the conspiracy (of opposition parties) of not letting the Constituent Assembly promulgate the statute. “We have decided that the issues of constitution will be decided first. After that we will proceed towards forming a unity government,” said Tripathi. Maoist Secretary and Minister for Energy Post Bahadur Bogati said the coalition partners were for giving utmost priority to constitution issues. “A unity government at the expense of drafting of the constitution makes no sense,” said Bogati.