Kathmandu, April 28, 2006

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today put before the Parliament a proposal for an election to a constituent assembly. The proposal will be put to debate on Sunday when the House reconvenes after a holiday tomorrow. “This HoR meeting decides to go for election to a Constituent Assembly in order to draw up a new constitution,” stated the proposal coming from Koirala. Deputy speaker Chitra Lekha Yadav read out Koirala’s proposal. The Prime Minister could not attend the meeting due to ill-health. Members of Parliament (MPs) welcomed the proposal. The proposal was officially supported by Madhav Kumar Nepal, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Narayan Man Bijukchhe, Leelamani Pokharel and Hridayesh Tripathi. Meanwhile, the proceedings adopted in the parliament, which sat today after four years, saw a departure from past practice when it was customary to bring the royal sceptre and keep it at an appointed place behind the Speaker. The new parliament is also expected to come up with a new procedural code which will guide the way the parliamentary proceedings should go ahead from Sunday. Deputy speaker Yadav told the House such a code would be introduced on Sunday.

Kathmanduites press for new statute

Kathmandu, April 28, 2006

Thousands of people, who are yet to be included in the mainstream of development, today protested in front of the Singh Durbar gate, demanding announcement of elections to a constituent assembly in order to ensure a decisive role for them in the changed political scenario. Various rallies started from different parts of the city and converged at the Singh Durbar, where the first session of the reinstated House of Representatives was taking place. People from various indigenous and backward communities and some representatives of NGOs called for elections to a constituent assembly so as to ensure their participation in the making of new constitution and the subsequent process of nation-building. Also present on the occasion were Buddhists, Dalits, disabled people, human rights activists, civil society members and journalists. Prominent rights activists, journalists and ethnic rights activists staged a sit-in outside the Singh Durbar main gate for over two hours while others chanted slogans for an end to monarchy, creation of a constituent assembly and assurance of ethnic rights. “We want restructuring of the state along with regional and ethnic autonomy, secularism and other ethnic rights secured through a constituent assembly,” said Dr Om Gurung, general secretary of the Nepalese Federation of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities (NEFIN), addressing the mass gathered there.