Kathmandu, June 9
The government and the parties don’t seem to be in any hurry to implement the new constitution, although they have only one and a half years to meet the constitution-imposed deadline to form a new federal parliament by 21 January 2018.
Enacting around 138 new laws and setting up administrative structures at federal, provincial and local levels and holding elections at all three levels on the basis of those new laws before the deadline are challenging tasks before the government and the parties.
But major parties seem more concerned about power games, as the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist Centre have been trying to change the government, while Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is trying to prolong his term.
Many constitutional appointments are now stranded in the parliament due to the rift between ruling and opposition parties on the strength of the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee.
Holding of provincial elections is uncertain, as there is no sign of the issue of boundaries of federal units being resolved soon.
Although the government has announced it will hold local bodies’ elections by November/December as per the old structure, NC, CPN-MC and agitating Madhes-based parties are against it and are pleading to hold the polls as per the new constitution.
A commission formed to restructure the boundaries and structures of the local bodies is working with a mandate of completing its task by March 13.
It needs to await the commission’s report if the polls are to be held as per the provisions of the new constitution.
Clashes of interests among parties while passing laws in the Parliament may create further delay.
“Normally, it takes around three months to pass a bill after it is introduced in the Parliament. Some bills related to constitution implementation will require people’s feedback and extensive discussion even outside the Parliament.
So, if the constitutional deadline is to be met, the government must bring all related bills within the ongoing House session and the parties should come together to pass the bills,” said Bharat Raj Gautam, spokesperson for Legislature Parliament Secretariat.
Besides, the Parliament has many other agendas, including passing its new regulations, holding discussion on the Appropriation Bill and passing the budget and 51 bills that are stranded at various stages within the Parliament, Gautam said.
“The government has introduced some bills at the Parliament and is drafting many others by setting priority.
Concerned ministries are drafting bills under their purview and they will be taken to the Parliament gradually,” said Dilli Raj Ghimire, spokesperson for the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
“It needs to work with time-bound action plan to accomplish the task and meet the deadline. The bills can have a smooth passage if the government makes the opposition parties participate from the stage of drafting laws.
However, the government is busy securing the PM’s position and safeguarding the ruling parties’ interests,” said NC Chief Whip Chin Kaji Shrestha.
CPN-UML Chief Whip Bhanubhakta Dhakal, however, said, “I hope the leaders will come together despite their differences as they did in the past and will be able to resolve all the challenges in statute implementation.”
A version of this article appears in print on June 10, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.