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Polls in Nepal if no pact on federalism

Publication Date : 19-09-2012

 

Nepali politicians attending the much-touted talks yesterday said they may go for fresh elections if the parties fail to have one voice on issues related to federalism or opt for revival of the Constituent Assembly (CA) if the disputed issues are sorted out through political consensus.

A meeting of the major political forces — Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) — could not make headway after leaders refused to budge from their stances on disputed issues of constitution writing.

They are scheduled to meet again today.

The meeting dwelt on forging consensus based on the May 15 decision, when the major political forces had agreed to federate the country into 11 provinces and adopt a mixed electoral system.

“The talks focused on whether unresolved issues of the constitution can be settled on the basis of the May 15 decision,” said UML leader Bhim Rawal.

UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal proposed holding fresh CA polls if the parties fail to strike a common understanding on the disputed issues of the new constitution.

He came down heavily on Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala.

“He proposes CA revival in our meetings, but speaks in favour of fresh mandate in public. If so, let us go for fresh polls and stop the talks,” a leader attending the meeting quoted Dahal as saying.

Earlier on Sunday, the parties had decided to hold “serious talks” yesterday. However, Koirala left for Janakpur to attend a party programme yesterday.

During yesterday's meeting, the UML proposed settling issues related to the constitution and power sharing in a package.

The SLMM, however, expressed serious reservations over other parties’ proposal. It said the May 15 decision was against their demands.

Morcha leaders have proposed federating the country into 10 or 14 provinces. “We are ready to accept the decision of May 15, except for the proposed 11 provinces,” a Madhesi leader quoted Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahanta Thakur as saying.

Thakur said the CA could be revived if there is a larger agreement among the parties and if the Supreme Court is taken into confidence.

In a separate meeting with Morcha leaders, UML leader KP Oli suggested that the new constitution could be promulgated by incorporating the word federalism and issues of boundary demarcation and nomenclature could be left to a new Parliament.

“We are for full constitution through the CA that will ensure federalism with clear demarcation of provinces. However, the issue of naming the provinces could be settled later,” said Sadvawana Party General Secretary Manish Suman.

Koirala reiterates stance

Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala yesterday reiterated that his party favours fresh elections.

Addressing a press meet in Kathmandu, Koirala said election is a better option to end the protracted political impasse. “President Ram Baran Yadav is also in favour of a fresh people’s mandate,” he said.

He further said parties will strike consensus within two or three days.

 

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