Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prachanda"The agreements today have opened the door to form a new government. We want the constitution amendment to be approved as soon as possible,"

By Phanindra Dahal, Zhang Jianhua

KATHMANDU, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The political deadlock prevailing since the Constituent Assembly (CA) declared Nepal a federal democratic republic on may 28 was broken through on Wednesday.

Firstly, the Nepali cabinet approved the fifth amendment to the Interim Constitution on Wednesday evening.

The amendment will be tabled at the newly-elected Constituent Assembly (CA) on Thursday.

Prior to the cabinet meeting, the Nepali Interim Government's ruling Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) has finalized the agreement to amend the Interim Constitution promulgated on Jan. 15, 2007.

The new points incorporated in the amendment include: The man who is not CA member can be minister in the cabinet; President, vice president and prime minister should be elected through a simple majority but not two-thirds majority, etc.

"The cabinet has approved the bill finalized by the SPA meeting. The government will present it to the CA meeting Thursday," Shyam Sundar Gupta, Nepali Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies told Xinhua after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

For the peace process, the SPA meeting made a 7-point agreement, which required the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) armed force to be integrated in six months, hence the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) tenure is to be extended for six months so as to monitor the arms, and the CPN-M is to return the captured property in 15 days, while its youth branch, the Young Communist League will quit occupied government buildings in 15 days.

"The government has decided to extend the tenure of the UNMIN by six months. The government will write a letter to the United Nations," Shyam Sundar Gupta told Xinhua.

Also, the SPA have agreed Wednesday on the 26 seats distribution among the parties.

According to the Nepali Interim Constitution, the 601-seat Constituent Assembly (CA) includes 575 elected seats and 26 appointed by the Interim Government cabinet. The 575 seats have been elected since April 10, in which the CPN-M emerged as the single largest party with 220 seats, followed by the Nepali Congress (NC) with 110 seats and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) with 103 seats.

"We have agreed on the nomination of 26 members of the Constituent Assembly. The CPN-M will get nine, NC and CPN-UML five each, Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) two and the remaining five for the small parties, including the Sadbhawana Party, the People's Front, Terai Madhesh Democratic Party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) and Nepal Workers and Peasants' Party," Jhal Nath Khanal, CPN-UML General Secretary told reporters.

"Because we have not got the name of CA members to be nominated from the MPRF and TMDP, the meeting couldn't finalize on the name of the 26 CA members. It will be done by Thursday," Shyam Sundar Gupta told Xinhua.

"The agreements today have opened the door to form a new government. We want the constitution amendment to be approved as soon as possible," CPN-M chairman Prachanda said after the meeting.

The first CA meeting on May 28 declared the country the world's youngest republic

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