Kathmandu, December 19
The ruling coalition and the main opposition party seem to have softened their stances and have agreed to work for a package deal on key national agendas, following a meeting between the speaker and leaders of the three major parties.
However, the constitution amendment bill remains a vexing issue.
The three major parties the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre today said they would try to reach a package deal on constitution amendment, passing of election related bills
and announcing date of civic polls and deciding on the impeachment motion against the chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority.
“We are working on a package deal on prominent issues to find middle ground. I hope there will be no confrontation in the Parliament,” said Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel after the meeting of top leaders of the three parties called by Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar at the Parliament Secretariat.
Following the meeting, the speaker included tabling of the constitution amendment bill and two election related bills in today’s business schedule.
But she adjourned the House till 1:00pm on Thursday after lawmakers of the opposition alliance stood up demanding withdrawal of the bill after Laxman Rajbanshi of Nepa: Rastriya Party addressed the House representing the alliance and urged the government to withdraw the bill. “I adjourned the House, as I did not want to widen the rift between the government and the opposition,” the speaker told reporters.
“In a previous meeting, the UML had demanded that the amendment bill should not be included in the business list. However, today the party leaders told me to use my conscience about it. It shows that the leaders softened their stance,” she said.
The speaker urged leaders to forge consensus on contents of the bill or let the House function.
“The meeting concluded on a positive note. I expect they will find common solution on letting the House function from Thursday and try to forge consensus on other issues in a package,” the speaker said.
CPN-UML Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam said the UML requested the government to withdraw the amendment bill and proceed with election related bills. CPN-Maoist Centre’s leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara said the parties would continue efforts to iron out differences within the next two days.
UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli told the meeting that his party agreed to have separate Tharuhat province during the Constituent Assembly period mistakenly and wanted to correct it now, according to NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha.
UML Chief Whip Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal said, “We have urged the ruling parties to reach a package deal on all agendas after withdrawing the amendment bill.”
The speaker, during the meeting, also urged the leaders to forge consensus on forming the Constitution Implementation Monitoring and Direction Committee and the Ethics Monitoring Committee of the Parliament and fill other vacancies in parliamentary panels.
A version of this article appears in print on December 20, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.