TIKA R PRADHAN
KATHMANDU: Claiming that the major political forces have reached closer to consensus on the outstanding issues related to the new constitution, the Problem Resolution Sub-Committee under the Constitutional Committee today decided to seek two more days for consensus.
During a Sub-Committee meeting, its convener Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the sub-panel should be given a final chance to forge consensus.
“We will forge consensus by today evening or Tuesday as we are quite close to consensus on remaining 117 disputed issues. So, we sought two more days,” sources quoted Dahal as saying at the sub-committee meeting.
Nepali Congress Vice-president Ramchandra Paudel and CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal seconded Dahal’s proposal. During today’s meeting, Speaker Subas Nembang had said a full-fledged constitution must be drafted by May 27, as environment is now favourable with peace process almost completed and parties in agreement to form a national unity government. The meeting has agreed to hold a CC meeting on Wednesday. The CC has already been directed to make necessary preparations to take the unresolved issues to voting in the event of parties’ failure to iron them out.
Sources claimed that the parties have agreed on mixed system on forms of governance (directly elected President and prime minister elected through Parliament). But parties still find federalism a tough nut to crack. However, experts have suggested that issues related to federalism could be settled after the promulgation of the new constitution, before general elections are held, arguing
that Parliament, which will remain in force even after the adoption of the constitution, could decide on them by
making a first amendment to the constitution.
Meanwhile, sources said Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula today discussed calling the House to amend Article 70 of the Interim Constitution to cut short the process to endorse the new constitution.
Earlier, the Maoist party and Nepali Congress had urged UML to join the government. But UML Chairman Khanal, after the meeting, said, “Doors have been closed for UML.” He said UML would consider joining the government only after ‘the doors are opened’.