Timely drafting of constitution unlikely: Experts

Kathmandu, July 11:

Political leaders and constitutional experts today doubted that the Constituent Assembly would be able to promulgate a new constitution on time.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Media Initiative for Rights, Equity and Social Transformation (MIREST), Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh KC said that the Maoists’ pledge to carve out provinces on the primary basis of ethnicity was against the ideals of a communist party.

President of the Nepal Bar Association Biswa Kant Mainali suggested the Maoists not to demarcate provinces on the basis of ethnicity as the doctrine of ethnicity was propounded by the Oxford and Cambridge universities to defeat communist ideologies. He also said that the true federalism ensures equality of all the citizens, irrespective of roots of their origin.

UML leader Surendra Pandey said it was a tough task for the CA to complete the task of writing a new constitution within less than two years from now as the assembly has also got to act as the parliament for the interim period.

Stating that the legislative assembly of the CA’s might consume six months on budgetary discussion in two years, Pandey said it was not easy for the assembly to accomplish its most important function unless there is a consensus among all the political parties on key issues. Countering the allegation by the Madhesi parties, Pandey said the pacts the government signed with the agitating groups contradicted with each other.

Shyamananda Suman of the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum said the crisis of confidence among the big three parties with the Madhesi parties was a result of prejudiced ideas. He called on all to see the aspirations of the Madhesi people in true light and said Madhesis were for inclusion and justice, not separation.

CA member and the CPN-Maoist leader CP Gajurel said the Madhesi parties’ demand of One Madhes, One Prades could only lead the country to disintegration, even if the demand were well-intended.

Gajurel, however, expressed confidence that the CA would be able to work out a new constitution without having to go for a six-month extension under emergency declaration.

Constitutional expert Dr Surya Dhungel said that the task of writing a new constitution would be very difficult without outlining a common minimum programme and basic principles of the constitution.

Former country director of the UNFPA to Sri Lanka and Yemen, Dr Som Pudasaini, urged to ensure participation of a maximum number of people as it would give them a sense of ownership of the constitution and would help mitigate conflicts in the days to follow.