Khanal stresses national consensus for new statute

KATHMANDU: CPN-UML president Jhala Nath Khanal presented his political report at the party’s third central committee meeting that kicked off in Balkhu today, stressing the need to forge a unity among major political parties, including the UCPN-Maoist, to adopt the new constitution and to bring the peace process to a logical end on time.

Party general secretary Ishwor Pokharel presented a report on the party’s organisation which will also be debated in the CC meet. A standing committee meeting held on Sunday had set 14 agenda for the third CC meeting.

Yogesh Bhattarai, a central committee member, said Khanal had described the current political situation, country’s economic situation, status of the peace and constitution drafting processes, role of the High Level Political Mechanism and challenges of reaching consensus among the major stakeholders on key issues of the new constitution.

Bhattarai said Khanal had also talked about the party’s position on the state restructuring and forms of governance, the two contentious issues in which even the ruling UML had been sharply divided into two camps, one led by Khanal and his rival K P Oli.

The party has formed a 11-member panel led by party vice-president Bamdev Gautam to come up with a report on both the issues of state restructuring and forms of governance. Gautam has yet to submit his report to the CC meet.

In its election manifesto, the party had said the executive Prime Minister should be elected directly by the people to ensure political stability with a provision of a ceremonial president. But the UML CA members stood divided during voting on the forms of governance at the CA committee on Forms of Governance.

The UML CA members loyal to Oli had aired views in the full House of the CA in favour of a modified version of the parliamentary system with a provision that the no-confidence motion would not be tabled in the House more than once a year. But others loyal to Khanal insisted on electing the PM directly by the people, an idea the party had dropped during voting in the CA committee on the Forms of Governance.

Khanal has suggested building national consensus to adopt the new constitution on time and completing the peace process before the promulgation of the constitution. “To achieve the twin national goals, the government, parties and HLPM must reach a political understanding among the major stakeholders,” Bhattarai quoted Khanal’s political report.