Federalism, republican set-up amendable

KATHMANDU: In another major decision, top leaders of major political parties today agreed to make the new constitution flexible and not rigid by inserting only a few issues — independence of the country, geographic integrity and sovereignty vested in people —under unamendable provisions. Even the republic system and federal system will not be in the unamendable provisions and can be amended through referendum.

There will be a separate list of what all can be amended through referendum. However, two-thirds majority of Parliament will have to decide before taking such issues to referendum, said CPN-UML leader Surendra Pande said after the meeting of top leaders held late in the evening at Constituent Assembly Secretariat in Singha Durbar. As per today’s agreement, vote of no confidence motion cannot be introduced in the Parliament against prime minister for the first two years of his election to ensure political stability, added Pande. However, if majority of members of the House register a no-trust proposal with their signatures, the PM will have to show his majority even before two years, he said.

The parties also took up other issues not included in the 16-point pact reached among the four parties on Monday. Differences on more issues were settled today and report on the same will be presented at tomorrow’s meeting of CA full house slated for 3:00pm. The CA will forward it to the Constitution Drafting Committee tomorrow itself for preparing the first draft of the new constitution.

UCPN-M is likely to have reservations on parliamentary form of governance and RPPN on secularism.

Agreed-upon issues

•    Forty members of the upper house will be elected from an electoral college of members of state assemblies and chiefs of local bodies – VDCs and municipalities

•    Direct voting will be adopted for state assemblies and each state assembly will have 25-45 members on the basis of territory and population

•    Provision for four additional constitutional commissions – Women Commission, Dalit Commission, Natural Resources and Financial Commission and Inclusive (umbrella) Commission

•    Citizenship by descent will be provided to the children of a Nepali citizen who is married to a foreign national and one of them has lived in Nepal continuously for 10 years after marriage

•    The federal commission to be formed for preparing a report on the boundaries of provinces will be made inclusive