Summit talks might set date for CA polls: Adhikari

Kathmandu, October 7 :

The summit-level talks between top leaders of the seven-party alliance (SPA) and the CPN-Maoist scheduled for tomorrow are likely to principally agree on holding an election to a constituent assembly by the second week of June 2007. The revived House of Representatives, on its declaration on May 26, had expressed its commitment to go for the constituent assembly election.

Standing committee member of the CPN-UML, Bharat Mohan Adhikari, who is also a member of the SPA’s task force, told this daily that tomorrow’s summit talks might also principally agree to send the Maoist’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to cantonments along with their arms and the Nepali Army to its barracks as per the five-point agreement sent by PM Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist supremo Prachanda to United Nations on August 9. Prachanda is learnt to have intimated to the SPA leaders that the PLA could go to the cantonments within a fortnight of the agreement on political package.

Under the second phase of the arms management, Adhikari said that heavy weapons of both the sides could be separated from the respective armed forces and the heavy weapons placed in joint lock ups under supervision of the UN’s non-military personnel.

“The SPA and the Maoist’s top leaders might also reach an agreement on the interim constitution the day the PLA is confirmed to have confined to cantonments, which might take place on the last week of October if everything goes according to the plan,” said Adhikari.

He said that the summit talks might also principally agree to constitute an interim legislature comprising members of the revived parliament and the National Assembly, Maoists, senior politicians, individuals playing significant role in the Jana Andolan II.

The SPA and the Maoist leaders could decide the strength of the interim legislature “within some hours of consultation” once the principle of representation in the interim legislature was agreed upon, he said.

The SPA task force is learnt to have theoretically agreed to keep the strength of the interim legislature in between 305 to 307. The interim government would also be formed based on the principle adopted to form the interim legislature.

Adhikari stressed that the SPA and the Maoists may recommend the government to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and commissioners of the Election Commission, which may start preparing voters’ list for the constituent assembly election purpose. He said that the summit talks might also agree on forming the chief commissioner and members of the National Human Rights Commission.

The most disputed issues, according to Adhikari, which have yet to be sorted out within the SPA and the Maoists, are the status of the monarchy in the interim constitution and the strength and the electoral system of the constituent assembly. The Nepali Congress is in favour of mixed electoral system (first-part-the-post and proportional representation) and UML, Maoists and other political parties are in favour of a system of proportional representation for the constituent assembly.

“The disputed issues that cannot be settled by the summit talks can be left to the interim legislature to decide,” said Adhikari, adding: “We need to untie the major knots step-by-step, otherwise we may not be able to hold the assembly election on time.”