RAM KUMAR KAMAT/PRAKASH ACHARYA
KATHMANDU: After failing to settle the two key issues related to the new constitution —federalism and forms of governance — four major political forces today decided to settle them through voting in the Constituent Assembly.
A Constitutional Committee meeting held earlier this morning, however, had settled on giving continuity to talks to forge consensus on the disputed issues. A meeting of the CA full house today unanimously amended CA regulations as well, clearing the way for sending the issues that could not be endorsed by the CA full house through majority vote back to the CC. The amendment was required as regulations were silent on next step in the event of failure to settle any of the issues through majority vote.
Earlier, the Problem Resolution Sub-Committee headed by Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had suggested that both options — searching consensus and putting unsettled issues to vote — should be carried out simultaneously. “There are up to 117 unresolved issues, 78 of them related to federalism. As some of the issues have already been settled at the Sub-Committee level but yet to be endorsed by the CC, the next CC meeting will decide on number of issues to be sent for voting,” said CC Chair Nilambar Acharya. The first draft of the constitution would be ready only after all the contentious issues are settled — either through consensus or simple majority in the CA. However, it requires a two-thirds majority to endorse the constitution. “The next CA meeting is slated for Thursday at 1:00pm and the unsettled issues will be put to vote on the very day if parties fail to forge consensus by then,” said CA sources.
Although the political parties have agreed to try both the options — putting contentious issues to vote and seeking consensus through dialogue — their preference seems to be the latter for the fear that some of their lawmakers could cross the floor on federalism issues during voting. In addition, the leaders are worried that putting the disputed issues to vote could spoil atmosphere of trust.
A four-party meeting slated for 5:00pm today could not convene as Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who had gone to Biratnagar, could not make it to the Capital on time. Earlier in the morning, Sub-Committee Coordinator Dahal had assured CA Chairman Subas Nembang that parties would settle the issues through consensus. “Ups and downs are part and parcel of negotiations; this is natural and we don’t need to be pessimistic,” said Dahal after the Sub-Committee meeting.
‘One far-west’ opposed
KATHMANDU: As many as 22 lawmakers — 17 from the ruling Unified CPN-Maoist and one each from the Nepali Congress, Sadbhawana Party, MJF-D, CPN-UML and Rastriya Janashakti Party — representing the far-west region on Tuesday issued a joint press release saying the call for undivided far-west was against the aspirations of the marginalised communities and the region. The lawmakers also rejected the federalism proposal presented by NC and UML, demanding that Kailali and Kanchanpur districts be made parts of Tharuwan Pradesh. “The demand for undivided far-west is a regressive idea. We cannot accept it,” said Maoist lawmaker Sharad Singh Bhandari of Accham.