Added At: 2012-04-17 12:35 AM
Last Updated At: 2012-04-17 12:35 AM
RAM KUMAR KAMAT/TIKA R PRADHAN
KATHMANDU: The major political parties wound up closed-door talks today at Hattiban resort, with top leaders claiming that they have narrowed down differences on all five contentious issues — federalism, forms of governance, judiciary, electoral system and citizenship.
United Democratic Madhesi Front leader Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar said major parties were ‘quite close to consensus’. “We can almost say that there are no differences remaining,” Gachhadar told reporters. He added that major parties have agreed to establish mixed model of government and pradeshes based on identity and economic viability. Gachhadar tried to parry the question as to how many provinces the parties were mulling over, but said, “Provinces will be carved out as per popular perception.”
Maoist leader Khim Lal Devkota said the parties had agreed to carve out pradeshes based on identity and economic viability. According to Devkota, all the parties have their own stances on all five contentious issues, and therefore, they could not reach a consensus today. “Parties need to amend their official decisions, which they will do before the next round of meeting,” said Devkota, adding that the number of pradeshes will not be a problem, as all the parties have convergent views on the basis of provinces: Identity and economic viability.
Devkota said the parties have agreed to adopt Mixed–Member Proportional Representation (mixed election system), but they were yet to agree on the number of representatives for both the categories. He added that a meeting of the Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly and Problem Resolution Sub-Committee under the CC would separately hold discussions to iron out differences. Minister for Information and Communications Raj Kishor Yadav, who is also the acting chairman of MJF-R, said all the parties, including the UCPN-M, NC and UML, agreed to carve out minimum number of pradeshes, possibly between seven and eight. “We have no objection to fewer pradeshes because we want ‘One Madhes Province’ and our alliance partners are one on our basic concerns,” he added. “It was quite satisfying for Madhesis that the NC did not lobby for north-south division of Madhes pradesh.” Minister Yadav added that NC also did not object to UDMF’s demand to provide citizenship certificates by descent to the children of those who are citizens by birth. NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat, however, said there still were some differences on all the issues. “At this stage we cannot say whether we will be able to arrive at consensus on all the issues,” said Mahat. “As far as ‘One Madhes Province’ is concerned, Madhesi parties have already given up on this demand.”
On the issue of constitutional court, Yadav said almost all the parties agreed to have constitutional court even for 10 to 15 years which can gradually be phased out. Hoping that a consensus could be forged on all the issues during the next meeting, Yadav said the Maoists and UDMF were of the view that the Baburam Bhattarai-led government should be given a chance to promulgate the new constitution. Sources claimed that Maoists and NC were still at odds over who should be leading the government at the time of promulgation of the constitution.
UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal expressed hope that the parties would be able to forge consensus by Wednesday.
So far so good
• Parties claim differences on
federalism, forms of governance, judiciary, electoral system and
citizenship narrowed down
• Agree to adopt mixed–member proportional representation
• Agree to carve out minimum
number of pradeshes, possibly seven or eight
• Unanimous on basis for provinces: Identity and economic viability
• Agree to have a constitutional court for 10 to 15 years
• Hope to secure consensus by Wednesday