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Nepal parties meet to forge consensus on Constitution

KATHMANDU (PTI):  Top leaders of the major political parties in Nepal are meeting on Friday in a last ditch attempt to forge consensus on key issues relating to the Constitution drafting ahead of the May 27 deadline.

State restructuring and forms of governance are the key issues which need to be settled before finalising the Constitution.

President Ram Baran Yadav, who met the top leaders of the major political parties including Maoist chief Prachanda, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, asked them to forge consensus at the earliest and meet the May 27 deadline to complete the drafting of the Constitution. While the political parties have not yet come up with an all acceptable model of federal structure of the country, various ethnic groups of the country have general strike in different regions of the country to exert pressure on them to favour their community’s interest while framing the Constitution.

Ethnic groups of Far-West Nepal are enforcing strikes nearly for three weeks to ensure their demand of an undivided Far-West region in the new Constitution.

Eight ethnic groups including the majority ethnic community consisting of Bramhin and Kshetriyas have shut down the entire country for two consecutive days for ensuring identification of their community in the new Constitution.

The Maoists want Nepal to be divided into 14 states on the basis of ethnic identity where and the Madhesi are pressing for a single autonomous region for Madhes, the southern plains.

Opposite to the Maoist-Madhesi alliance the largest democratic party Nepali Congress and the second largest communist party CPN-UML disfavour ethnicity based restructuring of states and prefer fewer states.

“We want the state to be divided on the basis of capability and economical viability rather than caste and ethnicity as proposed by the Maoists and the Madhesis,” said senior Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh Khatri Chhetri.

“It will not be economically viable if we divide the country into more than 6 or 7 states,” he pointed out.

He also accused the Maoists of deliberately delaying the constitution drafting process to prolong their stay in power. “This shows their mentality to capture state power by hook or by crook,” he added.

As only 17 days have left for promulgating the new Constitution, the failure on the part of the political parties to forge consensus on contentious issues indicate that the deadline to draft the constitution is most likely to expire without much achievement resulting in deepening political crisis, say political analysts.

Published Date: Friday, May 11th, 2012 | 04:52 AM

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