PRAKASH ACHARYA/TIKA R PRADHAN
KATHMANDU: Marathon meetings of four major political forces — Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front — today finalised two of the five constitution-related contentious issues — judiciary and citizenship. Leaders had agreed, in principle, on these issues yesterday.
Nonetheless, the political forces could not hammer out a deal on other three vital issues — election system, forms of governance and federalism.
Claiming that negotiations were positive, the leaders expressed hope that they would be able to find a solution on remaining three issues by tomorrow. NC leader Ramchandra Paudel said although they agreed on a mixed election system, they were yet to reach consensus on the number of constituencies and percentage for first-past-the-post and proportional representation systems. According to him, the UDMF proposed not less than 200 constituencies in the Lower House while NC proposed not more than 300 constituencies for both the Lower House and Upper House.
NC and UML have come closer to a proposal floated by UDMF on election system and forms of governance, according to another NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi. UDMF leaders had held separate meetings with NC and UML to discuss their proposal earlier today.
The UDMF proposal offers two options on the election system and forms of governance. According to the first option, if the President and the Vice President are to be elected directly, the Lower House should be formed on the basis of FPTP system and the Upper House based on PR system.
According to the second option, if the Lower House is to be formed on the basis of mixed model — combination of FPTP and PR — the President and Vice President should be elected through electoral college. NC and UML threw their weight behind the second option, according to Nidhi.
"First the UDMF held a meeting with UML with their two options and told NC in a later meeting that UML had agreed to their second option. Then NC too backed the second alternative," said Nidhi. "However, the proposal could not be discussed at the meeting of four political forces owing to time constraint."
The meeting in the morning had settled judiciary and citizenship issues and the meeting in the evening, scheduled for 5pm, was supposed to discuss the remaining three thorny issues. But the parties remained engaged in their internal meetings till 6pm before entering into inter-party negotiations at 7pm.
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal opened the meeting allowing Maoist leader Dev Prasad Gurung to speak on the election system. Gurung then spoke almost for an hour in support of an election system that called for proportionalism even in FPTP system, which NC and UML outright objected to, saying the idea was undemocratic and smacked of ultra-communist model. The meeting was then called off.
"We will resume the meeting at 9am tomorrow and sort out all the issues by noon," said Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar.
Maoist hardliners keep playing hardball
KATHMANDU: The hardline faction of the Unified CPN-Maoist on Monday proposed to have a fully proportional election system — an inclusive list of candidates for the first-past-the-post system, besides proportional representation. The idea being toyed by the hardliners calls for giving those a chance through proportional representation who cannot get elected through FPTP. Maoist leader Dev Gurung floated the proposal at the four-party meeting claiming that the system should be adopted as per the spirit of the Interim Constitution and reports of theCA’s different thematic committees. “We want to blend FPTP with the PR system to make the elections more scientific and inclusive,” said Gurung, accusing leaders of other parties of standing against a provision that has already been agreed upon.