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Nepal’s young lawmakers want more say in constitution drafting

Nepal’s young lawmakers are unhappy. They want more say in constitution drafting and also their seniors to complete the task at hand before May 28—the deadline to adopt a new constitution.

world Updated: Mar 11, 2010 15:09 IST
Utpal Parashar

Nepal’s young lawmakers are unhappy. They want more say in constitution drafting and also their seniors to complete the task at hand before May 28—the deadline to adopt a new constitution.

Cutting across party and ideological barriers, many of the new generation Constituent Assembly members have formed an informal group to pressurize senior leaders of all parties to draft the constitution soon.

“We feel excluded from the key processes of constitution drafting. The new group would try and ensure a bigger role and pressurize seniors to work fast,” said Sunil Babu Pant (37) from Communist Party of Nepal (United).

Following failure of the Constitutional Committee to submit first draft of the constitution on March 5, there’s growing uncertainty on whether Nepal would be able to meet the deadline.

This had led to a feeling of restlessness among the new generation lawmakers who have started a signature campaign of all CA members below 50 years of age seeking completion of the constitution drafting process on schedule.

“We have already collected around 150 signatures. There will be a meeting on Friday where we will prepare a letter that will be submitted to senior leaders of all parties,” said Pant, the coordinator of the campaign.

One third of the total 601 CA members are below 40 and over 430 of them (nearly two-third of the total members) have not crossed the age of 50.

“The ongoing political deadlock has affected constitution drafting. We want our seniors to realize this and give us more active role in the process,” said Pradeep Gyawali, a politburo member of CPN (United Marxist Leninist).

The young lawmakers are of the opinion that the concluding phase of the constitution writing process has been affected due to lack of dedication shown by the top leaders.

They now want the experienced lot make a conducive environment for continuous and meaningful participation by the young lawmakers to complete the constitution writing process on time.

“This is an effort to make the seniors take the work of constitution drafting seriously and complete it on time,” said Ramesh Lekhak, a 46-year-old CA member from Nepali Congress.