Big III ready to give parliamentary legitimacy to political mechanism

Kathmandu, January 16

A meeting of the three major parties -- the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the Unified CPN-Maoist -- today decided that they could ensure parliamentary legitimacy to the political mechanism that could be formed to settle the question of provincial boundaries.

According to Unified CPN-Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the three parties decided that if the UDMF agreed to sign a deal, they were ready to give parliamentary legitimacy to the political mechanism and its   terms of reference. The major parties are also ready to state they would ensure that the recommendations of the political mechanism would be made part of the constitution through a constitutional amendment.

Shrestha said the major parties also agreed to mention in the deal that they would take the recommendations of the erstwhile State Restructuring Commission and thematic committee of the first Constituent Assembly and proposals made in the second CA, as well as the sentiments of the agitating forces, as reference points to address UDMF’s provincial boundary concerns.

The major parties say that the question of provincial boundaries could be settled within three months by forming a political mechanism.

On the question of delineation of electoral constituencies, the major parties were of the view that the major criteria for the delineation of the electoral constituencies would be population but the hills and the plains would compensate the sparsely populated mountain areas, according to Shrestha.

The UCPN-M leader said on citizenship issues, the major parties were not in a position to change anything apart from making it clear that foreign women married to Nepali nationals would get naturalised citizenship without any hassles as was the case under the Interim Constitution.

The three parties, however, directed their task force members to show maximum flexibility to reach a deal with the agitating UDMF by January 19. Top leaders of the major parties also told their task force members to report to them if any new issue was raised by the agitating UDMF. In today’s meeting the members of the major parties’ task force briefed the top leaders of the progress made in the recently held negotiations with the UDMF, telling them that the latest rounds of talks had been positive and a deal was possible with the UDMF, according to Shrestha.

The meeting was attended by NC Vice-president Ramchandra Paudel, senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, NC negotiator Mahesh Acharya, PM KP Sharma Oli, UML leaders Jhala Nath Khanal, Bhim Rawal, Ishwar Pokharel and Agni Kharel and UCPN-M Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Vice-chair Narayan Kaji Shrestha and General Secretary Krishna Bahadur Mahara.