Task forces to hold talks daily

Kathmandu, January 15

The talks held between the task forces of the major parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front ended inconclusively today.

Both sides, however, termed today’s negotiations positive.

A member of UDMF task force, Ram Naresh Ray, said they dwelt on the 11-point demands but failed to conclusively address any. Ray said on the question of revision of the provincial boundaries, the major parties reiterated their old stance that they were ready to settle it within three months through a political mechanism and they were also ready to incorporate the language of the deal that could assure the credibility and legitimacy of the deal.

On the citizenship issues, the major parties told the UDMF that they were in favour of retaining the Interim Constitution’s provisions on matrimonial naturalisation. “We, however, told them that on citizenship issues all provisions of the Interim Constitution should be retained,” Ray added.

Ray said the major parties were still in favour of ensuring at least one first-past-the-post election constituency to all districts and to delineate the remaining seats on the basis of population.

They did not discuss the seat allocation for the Upper House. UDMF wants representation of the provinces in the Upper House on the basis of population. The new constitution stipulates that each province will have equal representation in the Upper House.

Ray said the major parties’ stance on the revision of the provincial boundaries were abstract. “We do not want to seal a raw deal or else it would meet the fate of deals that were signed in the past but were not implemented,” he said and added that the UDMF wanted the major parties to agree that there would be two provinces in Madhes as recommended by the State Restructuring Commission and the thematic committee of the first Constituent Assembly.

“Once the major parties agree to carve out two provinces in Madhes, we can think of other issues, including the language of the deal,” Ray added.

Nepali Congress negotiator Mahesh Acharya said today’s talks were positive and they would hold another round of talks tomorrow and try to further narrow down their differences.

Both sides decided to hold talks daily from tomorrow with the objective of finalising a deal by Monday.

Ray said the major parties had yet to reveal their common stance vis-à-vis UDMF’s 11-point demands.

“If the major parties really want a deal with us by Monday, we expect them to reveal their stance in tomorrow’s talks,” Ray said.