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Alliance for Social Dialogue

:: Nepal in Transition Monthly Updates Constituent Assembly Term Extended by Six Months (November 27-December 3)
Sunday, 04 December 2011 09:41

Constituent Assembly Term Extended by Six Months (November 27-December 3)

Though Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal was the only party against CA term extension, there was disagreement regarding the duration of the extension among other parties in the Constituent Assembly. UML assertion that CA term should be extended only after guarantee of completion of peace and constitution-drafting process was also supported by Nepali Congress. Then, the parties formed a working committee to draft a timetable to complete the peace process by promulgating the constitution.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai consulted smaller parties in the CA regarding CA term extension. The parties suggested the prime minister take the Supreme Court ruling into account when extending the CA term. In the meantime, the regrouping process of the Maoist combatants in the cantonment continued, and the State Restructuring Commission also started its work.

The working committee formed by the parties drafted a preliminary timetable for the peace process and constitution-drafting and suggested a six-month extension of the CA term. After a six‑point agreement to form a national consensus government and implement the previous seven‑point agreement, favourable environment was created for the 11th amendment of the Interim Constitution. And the meeting of the legislature-parliament extended the CA term by six months on November 29.

The parties were ready to extend the CA term by six month after the ruling of the Supreme Court for maximum of six-month extension of the CA and automatic dissolution of the CA in case of failure to promulgate the new constitution. UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon welcomed the extension of the CA term and urged all the parties to implement the commitments made towards the peace process.

The sub-committee for dispute resolution under the Constitutional Committee prepared a time for constitution-drafting as per previous understanding. The timetable lists among others that the disputes related to the constitutional provisions would be resolved by December 30, 2011, an integrated draft of the constitution without state restructuring details would be ready by January 29, 2012, bring out the integrated draft of the constitution by March 5, 2012, and promulgation of the new constitution by May 27, 2012.

While the agreement called for integration of maximum of 6500 Maoist combatants, more than 9000 combatants opted for integration in the regrouping process. Then, UCPN (M) leaders stated that the number for integration would be increased after discussion with other parties. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai met Congress president Sushil Koirala and proposed increasing the number for integration and formation of a national consensus government as per the six-point agreement.

Koirala discussed the prime minister’s proposal in the meeting of his party officials; the meeting concluded that the number for integration cannot be increased. UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal publicly stated that his party would never be ready to increase the number for integration.

Major Developments


November 27

Parties form a working committee to prepare timetable and make suggestions for completing the peace and constitution-drafting process. The committee members are Post Bahadur Bogati from UCPN (M), Krishna Prasad Sitaula from Nepali Congress, Ishwor Pokharel from UML, and JP Gupta from United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).
The parliamentary meeting is postponed through a notice after the major parties cannot agree on the duration of the CA term extension.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N) organised a meeting in Kathmandu against CA term extension. RPP-Nepal chairperson Kamal Thapa praises acclaimed the supreme court decision stating that it had corrected the major parties’ attempt at continuing the status quo and failures.
Meeting of the central committee of UML. Senior leaders express commitment to move forward by ending intraparty disputes.
The State Restructuring Commission starts its work. Krishna Hachhethu is appointed its spokesperson.
Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee meets the leaders of UCPN (M), UML, UDMF, Rastriya Janashakti Party, the prime minister, and the president separately. Inquires about the peace process, constitution-drafting, and extension of the CA term.

November 28

Prime minster Baburam Bhattarai discusses extension of the CA term, the peace process, constitution-drafting with 16 smaller parties in the CA. the parties suggest him to take into account the supreme court ruling when taking further decisions.
The State Restructuring Commission approves its working procedure along with an eight-week timetable. The procedure states forming four teams to come up with preliminary draft and presenting of integrated drafts for discussion in the full-member meeting after first and second rounds of discussions.
Meeting of UML central committee decides to launch a three-month party revitalisation programme for strengthening and unifying the party.
The working committee consisting of representatives from UCPN (M), Congress, UML, and UDMF suggests six-month extension of the CA term.
Completion of regrouping process in six cantonments. According to Army Integration Special Committee secretariat coordinator Balananda Sharma, 15,732 combatants are regrouped. Cantonments in Kailali yet to be completed.

November 29

Meeting of the legislature-parliament. CA members from UCPN (M), UML, UDMF, and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum criticise the supreme court ruling of November 28 on the maximum six-month extension of the CA term.
UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon urges the major parties to fully keep the commitment made on the peace process. He expresses his hope by the agreement reached by the major parties on the peace process.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, UML general secretary Ishwor Pokharel, UCPN (M) leaders Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Nanda Kishor pun inspect the Maoist cantonments in Talband of Kailali and Dahaban of Rolpa. Dahal states that since the number of combatants opting of integration is high, the number for integration could be further discussed with other parties.

November 30

Meeting of the Congress officials concludes that the number for integration cannot be increased beyond the previous agreements, welcomes the supreme court ruling on CA term extension, forms a committee under Narhari Acharya to coordinate with the State Restructuring Commission.
Meeting of the sub-committee for dispute resolution under the Constitutional Committee directs the Committee secretariat to prepare a timetable for promulgating the constitution within six months.
Completion of the regrouping process of the Maoist combatants. 16,931 combatants participate in the process. 2671 found to be absent.
Meeting between prime minister Baburam Bhattarai and Congress president Sushil Koirala. Bhattarai requests Koirala to participate in the government and to increase the number for integration. Koirala states that the issue of will be of joining the government and increasing the number for integration will be decided after party meeting.
Central committee meeting of UML endorses the decision to launch a three-month revitalisation programme.

December 1

Peace and Reconstruction Minister Satya Pahadi claims in a press conference that some combatants have not participated in the regrouping process because of their disinterest in integration, retirement, and rehabilitation.
Army Integration Special Committee secretariat coordinator Balananda Sharma states that until there is another agreement among the parties to increase the number for integration, not more than 6500 can be integrated in the Nepal Army.
Meeting of the sub-committee for dispute resolution under the Constitutional Committee brings out a timetable to promulgate the new constitution within May 21-27, 2012.
UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal states that UML cannot even think of increasing the number for integration and will not be acceptable even if other parties accept to increase the number.
Attorney General Mukti Pradhan clarifies that he did not give any advice to the government to pardon CA member Balkrishna Dhungel.
Senior Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba on a cross-country visit expresses commitment not to let the party be run on personal whims.

December 2

UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal threatens to capture state power if there is any conspiracy in the peace and constitution-drafting process and states that it will capture state power through elections if the constitution is drafted.
Nepal specialist Indian professor SD Muni states “India has corrected its Nepal policy which was in the wrong direction in the last three years”.
Congress president Sushil Koirala and parliamentary leader Ram Chandra Paudel state that funds amassed by UCPN (M) in the name of ‘fake combatants’ should be accounted for.
Injured and disabled combatants from Dahaban, Rolpa-based fifth division warn of stir accusing the party and the government of not addressing their demands. Injured and Disabled Struggle Committee is formed with Khushi Ram Chaudhari as the coordinator.