Kathmandu, September 13
Constituent Assembly today began voting on the final bill of the new constitution and endorsed Articles 1, 2 and 3 that have provisions related to constitution as fundamental law, sovereignty and state power and nation, respectively. The three articles also became part of the new constitution after the endorsement.
The voting process began this evening after top leaders of the major parties, including Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal addressed the CA meeting earlier this afternoon before concluding the clause-wise discussion.
The voting was held without any obstruction from any side despite boycott by 60 members of Madhes-based parties and Prabhu Sah of UCPN-M.
The CA meeting to be held at 11:00am tomorrow will resume the voting process. “It is expected that the entire voting process will be completed by Tuesday and the CA Secretariat will arrange the entire draft in order to be signed by all CA members before the new constitution is authenticated by the CA chair most likely on Wednesday,” said CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang. After that President Ram Baran Yadav will announce the commencement of the new constitution during the final CA meeting, the date for which will be fixed after holding consultations.
There were no amendment proposals for Articles 1 and 2, while three major parties – Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist – had sought to amend Article 3 seeking to add “geographic integrity” in the definition of nation and the CA endorsed the amendment making it the part of the new constitution.
Other three proposals to amend Article 3 tabled by Ram Kumar Rai of Khumbuwan Rastriya Morcha, Bishwendra Paswan of Bahujan Shakti Party and Anuradha Thapa Magar of Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party were rejected by two-thirds majority. Altogether there are 302 articles and nine schedules in the constitution bill and the CA will have to endorse them by two-thirds majority. The 601-member CA has 598 members and 517 members were present in today’s CA meeting. Sixty members of Madhes-based parties formally boycotted the CA meeting stating that their agendas are not going to be incorporated in the new constitution. Twenty-one members of other parties were absent at today’s meeting.
Major parties are still making attempts to assure Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic led by Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar by assuring that his agendas would be addressed either by the to-be-formed federal commission for settling the issues of federal boundaries or by amending the new constitution, said sources.
As per the CA Rules, at least two-third members (399) of the existing 598 members should participate in the voting process. And two-thirds members of the participants should endorse the new constitution.
Meanwhile, CA members of Nepali Congress, Unified CPN-Maoist, CPN (Marxist-Leninist), CPN (United), one independent member Atahar Kamal Musalman and Samajwadi Janata Dal withdrew 25 of 54 amendment proposals today.
A version of this article appears in print on September 14, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.