KATHAMNDU: In a major breakthrough in country’s constitution making process, four big political parties signed a 16-point pact on Monday night reaching an understanding to federate the country into eight federal provinces.
This has paved the way for the promulgation of new constitution.
Top brass leaders of the four parties—Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (MJF-L)—signed the agreement with the aim of resolving the key contentious issues of new constitution.
The consensus is an important achievement in Nepal’s constitution making process given that the parties were disputing over number of federal units for long. However, other Madhesi parties and ethnicity based political parties have opposed the deal. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal’s attempt to sell the deal with other parties associated with 30-party opposition alliance had failed. This has raised question over the implementation of the deal.
The parties have agreed to form a federal commission to finalise the demarcation of the federal states while the naming of provinces will be left to the federal assembly.
The issue of federalism, mainly the number of federal provinces to be adopted in the new constitution, form of governance, electoral system, and judiciary are four key contentious issues to be resolved. While parties have reached to a tentative consensus on all other issues, they were divided mainly on federalism.
Prime Minister and Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (MJF-L) Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar were holding discussion till late night to give final touch to the agreement.
According to the deal, the lower house will have 275 seats with 60 percent (165 seats) directly elected and 40 percent (110 seats) elected through proportional representation system. The upper house will have 35-member elected through all-out proportional representation system.
Likewise, the parties have agreed to adopt reformed parliamentary system of governance where executive powers will be vested in the prime minister and the ceremonial president will be elected through the parliament.
But the UCPN (Maoist) have agreed to take ahead the constitution drafting process by putting a note of dissent on the form of governance.
Moreover, a constitutional court will be set up for 10 years to resolve the disputes of federal and central courts, according to the pact.