Friday, July 4, 2008

Big Three reach consensus; minor allies oppose draft supplementary bill

Following a week of hectic parleys, the three major parties - CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) - have finally reached consensus on the draft of the supplementary bill for amendment in the interim constitution which, leaders claim, will address the demands of the Terai-based parties that have continuously disrupted the Constituent Assembly sessions since June 26.

A meeting of the three parties held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction arrived at the consensus on the draft bill Friday afternoon.

According to UML leader Bhim Rawal, the draft bill states that delineation of federal units will be done by the proposed State Restructuring Commission as per the agreements reached with various groups including Madhesi parties.

However, the seven-party meeting that followed failed to find a point of consensus on the issue. Three minor allies - People's Front Nepal, United Left Front and Nepal Workers and Peasant Party opposed the decision saying that such a provision in the interim constitution will lead to the disintegration of the nation.

UML general secretary Jhal Nath Khanal informed that the constitution will have a provision mandating the State Restructuring Commission to take into consideration the agreement reached with the coalition of the Terai based parties, federation of the indigenous nationalities, joint struggle committee of the indigenous groups and federal republican national front while deciding the federal structure of the country.

Nepali Congress vice president and peace minister Ram Chandra Poudel said the disagreement among the seven parties would be settled by the CA after the bill is tabled in it.

The supplementary amendment bill will be passed by the cabinet, and will then be brought before the CA for endorsement.

The Terai parties - Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party and Sadbhawana Party - have disrupted eight consecutive meetings of the CA to push for their demands - constitutional guarantee of 'autonomous Madhesh province' and group entry of Madhesis into the army.

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