KATHMANDU, August 1
The five-member special committee formed by Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee held rounds of talks on Saturday on contentious issues of the constitution but failed to arrive at consensus on key issues.
Although the special committee was mandated to settle all the disputed issues and submit a report to the CPDCC by 3:00pm on Saturday, it failed to settle the issues as the leaders stuck to their stances.
The CPDCC meeting again mandated the special committee to accomplish its task by 4:00pm tomorrow, said CPDCC Chairman Baburam Bhattarai. The CA, on Wednesday, had mandated CPDCC to prepare its report by settling issues raised by people during the CA’s recent feedback collection drive within four days.
“We are now reviewing 11 issues. Although we have not agreed, positive signs have appeared,” Bhattarai, who is also the coordinator of the special committee, said. The 11 issues include preamble, fundamental rights, secularism and citizenship.
• To include NA chief in National Security Council
• To adopt direct election for local bodies
• To mention full-fledged press freedom in statute
The special committee comprising four top leaders, including Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli, UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachhadar on Saturday discussed the issues in Singha Durbar. But the panel is yet to reach consensus. An eight-member taskforce formed by the special committee yesterday downsized the 861 issues raised by people to 222, according to taskforce member Bhishma Raj Angdambe.
The taskforce has suggested three alternatives to settle the dispute over whether “Nepal will be secular state” as mentioned in the draft constitution. Keeping secularism intact and replacing it with “Nepal will be religiously free state” and not mentioning anything about religion. These are the three alternatives.
The top leaders have agreed to include chief of Nepali Army as member of National Security Council and include the chief secretary as member secretary of the council.
The leaders have also agreed to use “full-fledged press freedom” in the new constitution and adopt direct election system in local bodies, according to him.
The taskforce has agreed to remove two terms “committed to democracy” and “inclusive” from the provision related to Nepali Army from Article 262(1).
The first draft has it that Nepali Army will be committed to democracy and will be an inclusive organisation.
The NA has been pleading to remove the two terms.
Meanwhile, a five-member sub-committee of the CPDCC headed by Ananda Prasad Dhungana on Saturday submitted its report to the CPDCC recommending withdrawal of “politically motivated lawsuits” against members of parties and armed groups that are outside the Constituent Assembly for one time.
Out of the 22 armed groups with which the sub-committee has held talks, 15 have already submitted their weapons to the government and others have announced they will submit their weapons if the lawsuits against their members are withdrawn.
This move from the government will help address all groups even those outside the CA and prevent protest from such groups after the new constitution is promulgated, said CPDCC Chairman Bhattarai.