• Of the 532 Constituent Assembly members present, 507 voted in support of charter • 25 RPP-N members voted against it
Kathmandu, September 16
Second Constituent Assembly today endorsed “Nepal’s Constitution” with overwhelming two-thirds majority. The constitution will come into effect after President Ram Baran Yadav announces the commencement of the new constitution at 5:00pm on September 20 during the last meeting of the CA.
Of 598 CA members, including CA Chair Subas Chandra Nembang, only 532 took part in the voting and of those present 507 voted in support and 25 from Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal voted against the charter. To meet two-thirds majority, 399 votes were required.
“I declare that Nepal’s Constitution has been endorsed by two-thirds majority,” said Nembang, announcing the result of the voting. Split vote was followed to endorse the single constitution bill after all articles of the constitution were endorsed one by one.
The new constitution will have 308- 310 articles as some new provisions have been added from the amendment proposals of the three major parties that include four new commissions – Madhesi, Tharu, Indigenous Nationalities and Muslim. The original constitutional bill, before amendments were passed, had 302 articles.
“The exact number of articles will be known tomorrow after we arrange the draft,” said Constitution Drafting Committee Secretary Ravi Sharma Aryal.
It took seven years and nearly four months to draft the new constitution, as the first CA that first sat on May 28, 2008, failed to accomplish its task, while the second completed it after one year and seven months since it first sat on January 21, 2014.
Today’s CA meeting formed a committee headed by Chairman of Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee Baburam Bhattarai, comprising Chairman of Constitution Drafting Committee Krishna Prasad Sitaula, CPN-UML Chief Whip Agni Prasad Kharel, Unified CPN-Maoist Chief Whip Giriraj Mani Pokhrel and Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal member Kunti Kumari Shahi. It will make sequential arrangement and correct minor errors by 3:00pm tomorrow.
Nembang asked all Constituent Assembly members to sign the endorsed constitution from 9:00am to 3:00pm on September 18 at Lhotse Hall of the CA building.
He will then authenticate the new constitution and hand it over to President Yadav for announcement of its commencement.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala
The new constitution has been passed. This is historic success. It is the success of all people from mountain to plains and of those within and outside the CA. It is the result of all past movements and sacrifices. This constitution is people-oriented and progressive. It cannot be compared with other constitutions, as it has been drafted by the people’s own representatives for the first time in Nepal’s history
CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang
“It is a day of happiness, as we have completed the task the people had been waiting for a long time. The long transition has now ended. The first CA was failed and people were confused about the success of the second one as well. That confusion is over and the country will move towards prosperity”
CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli
“The 70-year-old dream of people was fulfilled today. It is not only the victory of Nepali people but also the victory of Nepal’s independence. It is also the victory of thousands of martyrs who sacrificed their life and fought for this achievement. I congratulate all Nepalis. It is not an ordinary achievement. We have drafted the federal democratic republic constitution and
I request all those who are opposing this process to come together and revise the new constitution through constitution amendments. It is not a religious document and can be modified.
UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Who all boycotted the voting process
• Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum- Democratic — 14
• Tarai Madhes Democratic Party — 11
• Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal — 15
• Sadbhawana Party — 6
• Tarai Madhes Sadbhawana Party — 3
• National Madhes Socialist Party — 3
• Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Republican — 1
• Nepal Sadbhawana Party — 1
• Tharuhat Tarai Party-Nepal — 2
• Sanghiye Loktantrik Rastriya Manch-Tharuhat — 1
• Chandreswor Jha — Independent CA member — 1
• UCPN-M CA member Prabhu Sah — 1
• Meghraj Nepali –Madhes Samata Party Nepal — 1
• Total: 60
1. Biswendra Paswan of Bahujan Shakti Party
2. Pradip Giri of Nepali Congress
3. Shila Khadka of Nepali Congress
4. Rajya Laxmi Golchha of CPN-UML
5. Laxman Rajbanshi-Nepa Rastriya Party
• Total present: 532
• CA’s strength 532+60+5+1 (CA Chair) =598
A version of this article appears in print on September 16, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.