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Nepal Maoists set to enter interim parliament

The promulgation of the draft interim constitution will pave the way for 83 Maoists to join parliament, reports Anirban Roy.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 13:25 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy

Nepal’s Council of Ministers on Sunday approved the draft interim constitution, which would be promulgated on Monday, paving the way for 83 Maoists to become members of parliament.

The rebels will hold 25 per cent of the seats in the 330-seat interim parliament.

The cabinet forwarded the interim statute to the parliament secretariat for its promulgation.

Though the lawmakers criticised the political parties for not removing flaws in the interim constitution, sources in the ruling Seven Party Alliance (SPA) said that it would be promulgated without any changes as there was hardly any time left for discussion on the charter.

However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Subash Nemwang, said the MPs would have enough time in future to discuss the interim constitution.

“It is difficult to measure how much time will be adequate to discuss the interim constitution,” Nemwang, said, adding that the charter would be open for discussion even after the promulgation.

The President of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Pashupati Shamsher Rana, expressed concern over the move to promulgate the interim constitution without any discussion. “It is not democratic,” he alleged.

Even the president of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP), Narayan Man Bijukchhe, who is a partner in the SPA, criticised Prime Minister Girija Prsad Koirala for not providing for adequate time for discussion on the interim constitution.

However, Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara said discussion on the interim constitution can be held in the interim parliament.

He warned that any further delay in forming the interim parliament and promulgating the interim constitution could ignite a fresh political crisis in the country.

Meanwhile, officials at the Parliament Secretariat were busy with preparations for Monday’s parliament session.

“This is a historic occasion for the Nepal parliament,” a senior official told Hindustan Times, adding that they had been working overtime to finalise all the arrangements.

The officials have had tough time in making seating arrangements for the members. “Now, we will have to give seats to as many as 330 members,” they said.

So far, the Nepal parliament had only 205 members and providing seats for 125 more MPs has seen a reduction in the floor areas of the press gallery and the visitors’ gallery.

The secretariat has decided to allow only a minimum number of visitors to parliament in future.

“We can understand that the media persons would also have problems in covering the sessions in future,” Eak Ram Giri, an official of the Parliament Secretariat, said.

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First Published: Jan 15, 2007 02:10 IST