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Nepal: No consensus on Constitution drafting

KATHMANDU (PTI): The stalemate between four major political parties in Nepal over contentious issues of Constitution drafting continued on Saturday even after several rounds of negotiations.

Issues of state-restructuring have been a bone of contention among the major political parties even as the May 27 deadline to promulgate the Constitution is fast approaching.

“Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have been stuck to the idea of eight federal states to be incorporated in the new Constitution against the Maoists’ proposal of 11 states across the country”, Nepali Congress senior leader Bimalendra Nidhi said after the talks this evening.

During bilateral talks between the Maoists and the Nepali Congress, the latter reiterated its stand that the states should not be more than eight as it would not be economically viable, he said.

The Nepali Congress is also against naming the states on the basis of ethnicity. A mixed formula should be adopted while naming the states, Nidhi said.

Later on in the evening, the three-party meeting is scheduled to take place between the Maoists, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML in an effort to forge consensus on key issues, he informed.

The UCP-Maoist and the Joint Democratic Madhesi Front (the five-party alliance), have floated the idea of 11 states with names of the states based on ethnicity.

“Rather than ethnic capacity, economic viability should be taken into account while dividing states,” Nidhi said.

Besides state restructuring, forms of governance are another key subject which needs to be settled among the major political parties before promulgating the Constitution. Nepali Congress is in favour of a Parliamentary system with the provision of the prime minister being vested with all executive powers and the president elected from electoral college having ceremonial powers.

However, the Maoists are campaigning for an executive president directly elected by the people.

Until the parties tackle these contentious issues promulgation of the Constitution is not possible within May 27 deadline.

Meanwhile, Nepali Congress Vice-President Ramchandra Poudyal has issued a statement calling different agitating ethnic groups to calm down and to help create a conducive environment for drafting the new Constitution on time.

He asked the ethnic groups to maintain communal harmony, peace and to seek a solution to their problems through peaceful means of dialogue.

Poudyal’s call comes even as the general strike called by different ethnic groups in Far-west Nepal for an undivided Far-western region continued for the 16th consecutive day.

Published Date: Saturday, May 12th, 2012 | 03:51 AM

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