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Nepal debates nature of government

world Updated: Jan 03, 2012 00:09 IST
Utpal Parashar

With less than five months left to adopt a new constitution, Nepal’s political parties are engaged in a debate over what form of government should the country have.

While most contentious issues have been sorted, the three main parties — ruling Maoists and opposition Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) are at loggerheads on this.

Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) want a parliamentary form of government headed by a prime minister and the president elected by the parliament and state assemblies. The Maoists, the largest party in Constituent Assembly, on the other hand are in favour of a directly elected president who heads an all party government and a unicameral parliament.

The CA committee on the issue had submitted three separate proposals and the dispute resolution sub-committee had suggested a mixed form of government like the French model.

Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal who heads the sub-committee had hoped that this form where President is elected directly by people and prime minister through parliament would be acceptable to all.

“Without adopting a presidential system it will be difficult to address the aspirations of the people in the changed context,” Dahal told ‘The Kathmandu Post’ in an interview.

But on Monday in a meeting of the three major parties, NC opposed the Dahal’s suggestion. “We need to hold more discussions within the party on this issue,” said Nepali Congress vice president Ram Chandra Poudel.

The parties are scheduled to hold more meetings to arrive at a consensus on this issue.

The Constitutional Committee meeting to reach an understanding on the contentious issues also ended inconclusively on Monday.

Restructuring the country into states from the existing 75 districts is another issue taking a toll on the May 28 deadline.

As per the calendar approved by the CA, all contentious issues were to be sorted out within December 30 and sent to CC for endorsement by January 5.