Efforts by political parties from Nepal’s Madhes region to amend the country’s new Constitution could receive a boost after they finalised an agreement on Tuesday on backing Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” in the elections for the next prime minister.
The Sanghiya Loktantantrik Madeshi Morcha (SLMM) sealed the agreement with the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Center ahead of the elections on Wednesday.
However, the cautious SLMM will not join the Maoist-led government even though Prachanda and Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba requested them to become part of the coalition.
Prachanda is perceived as being relatively soft on the demands of the SLMM and observers said the Madhesi leaders are now expected to play a constructive role in national politics and calm the situation in the southern Terai plains, which were hit by a prolonged agitation over amending the Constitution adopted last year.
The SLMM held 36 rounds with outgoing prime minister KP Sharma Oli since last September but without any results. They blamed Oli’s high-handedness for the lack of success.
The three-point agreement finalised by the SLMM states that Prachanda’s new government will implement several conditions set by the Madhesi alliance, including declaring those killed during last year’s protests as martyrs, providing relief and compensation to the injured and forging political consensus on the SLMM’s demands for constitutional amendments.
“We recognise and respect the agitations that helped Nepal to move towards the republic and also recognize the demands and aspirations of Tharus, Madhesis and Janajatis/Adivasis. We have to find a way out so that all sections of Nepali society can own up the new Constitution as common property,” said a statement jointly issued by the Nepali Congress, Maoist and Madeshi leaders.
The parties also committed themselves to implementing the core values of the new Constitution, including inclusiveness, equality and proportional representation of different groups in state entities, the statement said.