Following the major breakthrough on key constitutional issues on June 8, a six-member sub-committee of the Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (CPDCC) made further progress on the issues related to citizenship, election of the 45-member National Assembly, number of the constitutional bodies and formation of the proposed Federal Commission which will delineate the boundaries of the eight Pradeshes. When the four major parties – Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, Unified CPN-Maoist and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic – agreed to carve out eight Pradeshes based on identity and economic viability some of the issues mentioned above demanded further clarification from the leaderships of the major parties. The CPDCC-formed sub-committee, when it met for the first time, found that some of the issues related to citizenship, electoral colleges for the election of the National Assembly, election system of the Pradesh Assembly and the number of constitutional bodies were not clearly defined in the 16-point agreement which paved the way for drafting the new constitution through a fast-track by July 16.
This shall be a new provision in the new constitution which shall treat men and women on equal footingThe sub-committee of the CPDCC has agreed that a person can obtain the Nepali citizenship certificate either in his or her father’s ‘or’ mother’s name. This shall be a new provision in the new constitution which shall treat men and women on equal footing. The Interim Constitution, however, states that a citizenship certificate shall be issued in the name of father ‘and’ mother. It was one of the major concerns of women rights activists who had been calling for issuing the citizenship certificate even in the name of the mother. In yet another development, the parties have also agreed that a foreign national (man or woman) getting married with a Nepali citizen (man or woman) needs to wait for seven years to obtain the naturalized citizenship certificate, and they shall have to wait for another 10 years to enjoy political rights (contesting election and getting any political appointment). But the foreign national will have to relinquish his/her citizenship of the country of origin. The parties have also agreed to expand the electoral colleges for the purpose of electing the National Assembly members. According to the new deal, all elected members of the Pradesh Assemblies and chiefs of VDCs and Municipalities shall elect the 40 members of the Upper House. But it has yet to be clarified which election system shall be adopted to conduct the elections of the Upper House. It needs to be clearly defined either in the new constitution or the election-related law. The parties have, in principle, agreed to add more constitutional bodies related to women, Dalits, natural resources and finance. There will be 19 constitutional commissions if all are to function separately. Such commissions will create more complications causing financial burdens for the nation. The major parties are mulling creating an ‘inclusive commission’ to accommodate all the proposed commissions. In order to ensure political stability in parliamentary forms of governance, the parties have agreed that the no-confidence motion shall not be tabled in Parliament against a PM for the first two years. However, the PM will have to prove a majority in the House if a majority of the lawmakers withdraw their supports for him/her in the middle. Monsoon delayed Life is difficult with the mercury level reaching near record highs. Western and central Nepal which are mostly dry have seen this while in eastern Nepal frequent rainfall in the evening and night, often accompanied by thunderstorms, provides some relief to those residing here. Now people are waiting for the monsoon to arrive. Usually the monsoon occurs in Nepal from June 10. But this deadline has passed and weathermen expect the monsoon to reach here only after three or four days, which is long wait. In any case, rainfall is expected to below the average this year too. This means that the harvest of crops would again be affected. Nepal receives about 80 per cent of rainfall during the monsoon that last for four months. People now are waiting for the monsoon hoping that the temperature would dip and be more tolerable during the summer. The farmers are eagerly waiting for the rains in order to plant rice saplings.