Nepal seems headed for a constitutional crisis with political parties failing to reach a consensus, with just few hours remaining for expiry of Saturday midnight’s deadline to give the nation a new statute.
Several rounds of talks between leaders of ruling Maoists and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and opposition Nepali Congress failed to yield any outcome till late evening.
The tenure of the Constituent Assembly needs to be extended another time by amending the interim constitution to give lawmakers more time to draft the constitution and complete the peace process.Nepali Congress is insisting on Maoists surrendering their arms before agreeing to extend CA tenure while the later is refusing to give up control of its arms immediately.
A last minute solution is still likely as talks enter a decisive phase. Security around the CA building and other sensitive areas in Kathmandu have been beefed up in order to thwart any untoward incident.
Earlier in the day Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal met President Ram Baran Yadav and discussed the possibility of imposing emergency if the CA tenure is not extended by consensus.
Nepal’s interim constitution states that the CA tenure can be extended by a simple majority in case of a state of emergency. Else it will require support of two-third members of the 601-member house to amend the interim constitution and extend the deadline.
Saturday’s situation is similar to May 28 last year when lawmakers struck a last minute deal and agreed to extend the CA tenure by a year.