Nepal may miss another constitution deadline: Prachanda

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Dec 06, 2014 22:54 IST

Maoist leader and former Nepal prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda warned on Saturday that the country may miss another constitution drafting deadline unless political parties reached consensus on contentious issues immediately.

"If there is no consensus within the next one-two days and the drafting process doesn't go on fast track, it is unlikely the constitution would get drafted within the January 22 deadline," he told reporters in Kathmandu.

Nepal's second constituent assembly, which was formed in 2013 after failure of the first one to draft a new constitution, has set itself the deadline of drafting and promulgating the statute within January 22.

But differences among ruling and opposition parties on issues related to forms of government, election process, federalism and judicial system has plagued the constitution drafting schedule.

While most parties and leaders are still stating that the deadline will be met, it is the first time a senior political leader has publicly expressed doubt about the possibility of a new constitution on time.

The chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the third largest block in the constituent assembly, stated his party won't accept a constitution adopted by ruling parties with two-third majority vote.

"Attempts made by the ruling parties to frame a statute by majority vote without respecting expectations of all Nepalis and without staying true to past agreements is both undemocratic and autocratic," he said.

Prachanda stated it was not required for all 31 parties in the constituent assembly to reach consensus. Agreement among major parties that had signed the comprehensive peace agreement and other similar deals was enough to draft the statute.

He added if consensus is reached within the next few days and the constitution drafting schedule is shortened, Nepal could still have a new statute within two-three months.

The Maoist leader accused Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and chairman of ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) KP Sharma Oli of not doing enough to ensure that the constitution is drafted within deadline.

Maoists want a mixed electoral system which has directly elected representatives and those nominated on basis of proportional representation and a total of 10-14 states.

A directly-elected president and a prime minister elected by parliament and setting up of a constitutional court to address disputes among new states and those of states with the centre are their other demands.

These demands are being opposed by the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) who want fewer states, a president elected through an electoral college, a common judicial system and direct election.

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