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Nepal assembly dissolved, govt plans fresh elections

Publication Date : 28-05-2012

 

Announcement comes after political parties fail to agree on constitution

 

In a clear manifestation of deepening political crisis in Nepal, the Constituent Assembly (CA) was dissolved at midnight Sunday, and without a new constitution being promulgated.

The government decided to hold fresh CA elections on November 22 this year.

The development is likely to trigger legal and constitutional crises in the coming days as parties are sharply divided on dealing with the crisis.

The CA that was elected in 2008 was formally dissolved after its term expired on Sunday midnight as major parties failed to find common ground, mainly on state restructuring.

Two major parties — Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) — have rejected the government’s idea to go for a fresh mandate.

The parties also said Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has no constitutional and legal ground to continue as premier.

The last meeting of the CA was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and it was to approve a new constitution, but lawmakers returned late in the evening after parties failed to bring out a new constitution.  

Earlier, the parties had failed to make good promises of a constitution and extended the CA term on four occasions.

In his address to the nation, PM Bhattarai said the country has no other alternative to forging national consensus again and hold the elections.

He blamed the NC and the UML for the “sad” dissolution of the CA.

“We must, however, not give up efforts, learn a lesson from our failure and move ahead,” the PM said. He said the Maoist party took a “risky decision” on integration of PLA combatants with hopes of the constitution being drafted.

“However, that was only a pretension of the NC and the UML,” he said.

In his address that seemed a damage-control effort after the issolution of the CA, Bhattarai urged the people to be optimistic.

“There was no other alternative left with the government but to fix the date of the elections,” he said.

He added that the current government will hold the elections and that he will enjoy the executive rights as per the Interim Constitution.

However, the NC, UML and other fringe parties have demanded immediate resignation of the PM and pave way for national consensus.

NC leader Ram Chandra Poduel said the CA collapsed as the Maoist party used it as a “tactical tool” to fulfil its goals.

“The Maoists were never in favour of promulgating a new constitution through the CA,” he said.

 

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