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Nepal fails to meet constitution deadline

world Updated: May 28, 2012 02:27 IST
Utpal Parashar

Four years of efforts went to waste as Nepali lawmakers failed to promulgate a new constitution within the Sunday midnight deadline plunging the country into a fresh political and constitutional crisis.

Last ditch efforts by major political parties to solve the contentious issue of restructuring the country into federal units failed to yield any result leading to breakdown of talks.

The tenure of Constituent Assembly expired on Sunday midnight and failure of lawmakers to draft a new statute within that deadline has led to further uncertainty and anarchy.

Addressing the nation from his official residence at midnight, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai announced that fresh elections will be held on November 22 to constitute a new CA to complete the task.

“There is sadness at having failed to complete the task. But I appeal to all Nepalis not to feel disheartened and start working on the process with new zeal,” he said.

Differences among major political players on restructuring the country into federal units became the biggest stumbling block in drafting the new constitution on time.

Maoists and Madhesi parties were demanding 14 or 10 states in the country based on single ethnicity-based identity, but Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) sought 8-11 states based on multiple ethnicities.

As the deadline drew near, some demonstrators outside the CA building clashed with security personnel leading. The situation was quickly brought under control.

Nepal’s CA was elected in 2008 with a mandate to draft a new statute within two years. But despite four extensions of that deadline, the task remains incomplete.