Alliance for Social Dialogue

:: Nepal in Transition Monthly Updates Parties Agree to Prepare Integrated Draft of the Constitution by April 27 (April 1-7)
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 09:31

Parties Agree to Prepare Integrated Draft of the Constitution by April 27 (April 1-7)

Even after amending the Constituent Assembly (CA) calendar of events three times and five extensions of the deadlines prepared by the Business Advisory Committee, the political parties could not come to a consensus on disputed issues of the constitution.

After no agreement was forthcoming in the repeated meetings of the Constitutional Committee and the dispute resolution sub-committee, the Business Advisory Committee called chairperson and parliamentary leader of UCPN (M) Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel, UML parliamentary leader Jhala Nath Khanal, and leader of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar to a meeting. In the meeting, CA chairperson Subash Nemwang updated the leaders on the status of constitution-drafting, issues requiring immediate attention, and a concept paper on the required timeframe.

In the concept paper, it is mentioned that consensus will be sought on the disputed issues of the constitution in the Constituent Assembly and dispute resolution sub-committee from April 13 to 17. If no consensus can be found, then it will be submitted to the Constituent Assembly meeting on April 18 and 19, and remaining within the decision of the CA, an integrated draft constitution will be prepared by April 27. It is also stated in the concept paper that procedures will be shortened and CA Regulations will be amended, first draft will be discussed upon and approved in the Constitutional Committee and CA meetings by April 14, and from May 5 to 13, the first draft will be ready and extensive discussions will be held with the public. The leaders expressed agreement with the concept paper of Chairperson Nemwang.

The meeting of political parties to discuss army integration could not agree on the senior rank to be accorded to the Maoist combatants, selection committee, duration of the bridge course and number of combatants to be integrated. However, teams from the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) secretariat reached the cantonments to make arrangements for the integration.

The discussion in the Constitutional Committee on the report of the State Restructuring Commission could not arrive at a basis for consensus. CA members staged a sit-in in front of the office of the Constitutional Committee for peace and constitution. UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and vice-chairperson and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai stressed peace and constitution while vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya faction started a signature campaign for a people’s constitution in the capital.

Also, on the occasion of the first people’s movement in 1990 on April 6, the two factions of UCPN (M) held separate programmes in the capital. The establishment faction held its programme in Basantapur and Vaidya faction in Ratnapark and traded accusations. However, chairperson Dahal did not attend either of the programmes citing health reasons.

Major Developments

April 1

Meeting of AISC along with top leaders of three parties. The parties could not reach agreement on the rank of the combatants to be integrated, standards, duration of the training among others.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal conducts training for YCL cadres. Gives instructions to forcefully work for peace and constitution. Asks to work for peace and constitution despite objections from Vaidya faction.
Former King Gyanendra in Dhangadhi. States everything depends on time.
Congress president Sushil Koirala in Udayapur. States ethnic states and ‘One Madhes One State’ is not acceptable.
Personal secretary to the prime minister Bishwodeep Pandey issues a press release accusing UML of obstructing army integration process and backing down from previous agreements.

April 2

Meeting of the Constitutional Committee starts discussion on the report of the State Restructuring Commission.
CA members stage a sit-in in front of the office of the Constitutional Committee to exert pressure on peace and constitution. Leaders ask them to break the sit-in. UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai do not attend the meeting.
Meeting of AISC including the top leaders at the office of the prime minister. Agreement could not be reached on the rank of the combatants to be integrated, training duration, and selection committee.
Meeting of UML standing committee refute the accusations laid by the office of the prime minister and warn of disturbing the environment of trust.
UCPN (M) establishment faction holds training for cadres. Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal instructs the cadres to counter Vaidya faction which has brought disrepute to the leadership.
UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Vaidya faction starts a signature campaign in the capital. Accuses the establishment faction of being ready to accept a piece paper as constitution and warns that it will not accept as such.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and vice-chairperson and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai conduct training for combatant commanders in the capital. Instruct them to assist in integration and ask them to be assured of representation in the Directorate to be established.
Meeting of the Constitutional Committee is ineffective in the absence of senior leaders.
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) holds a press conference and warns of severe steps if the peace process is not concluded by April 12 and environment to promulgate the constitution is not created.
Sisno Pani Nepal holds a satirical programme to create pressure for peace and constitution.
The extended deadline for dispute resolution sub-committee to resolve disputed issues in the constitution ends.

April 3

The Special Court gives its verdict on the corruption case of former Inspector General of Police Motilal Bohara. It imposes one and half years imprisonment and fine of NRs 5.3 million on charges of illegally gained property.
Indian Nepal specialist SD Muni in Nepal. States the present government will conclude the peace process.
UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya and general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa issues a joint press release. Accuse chairperson Dahal of individualism and leadership of being rightists, opportunists, and revisionists.
Nepal Students Union holds a sit-in at Congress central office demanding general convention.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Rolpa. States the party will not split because of differences and peace and constitution is the first priority.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party chairperson Kamal Thapa in Pyuthan. States the constitution will be ready by May 27.
UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal in Nepalgunj. States if integration is completed, then constitution will be ready by May 27.
Congress president Sushil Koirala in Janakpur. States it is Congress’s turn to lead the government.

April 4

Meeting of AISC. No agreement on disputed issues. Decision to send teams from the secretariat to the cantonments to make preparations.
Journalist from Jhapa Yadav Paudel is murdered. All-round denunciation of the murder.
UML CA members meet chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal, general secretary Ishwor Pokharel and other leaders and ask them not to leave the capital.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai discusses army integration with party chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Congress general secretary Krishna Sitaula.
Meeting between Congress and UML sticks to its position that army integration should be as per the seven-point agreement.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai in Gorkha. Expresses his confidence that the peace process will be concluded within April 12 and disputed issues in constitution will be resolved soon.
United People’s Struggle Committee coordinated by UCPN (M) secretary CP Gajurel organises a programme in Baneshwor. Claims the movement is for people-centred constitution and objects that they are being portrayed as being against peace and constitution.

April 5

Business Advisory Committee of CA holds a meeting. Sets a deadline for resolving disputes until April 17. Sets April 27 by which an integrated draft of the constitution has to be prepared.
UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal starts special telephone dialogue with political leaders, citizens, and party cadres from different districts.
Meeting of the Council of Ministers decides to give one million rupees to the family of murdered journalist Yadav Paudel.

April 6

On the occasion of the people’s movement 1990, two factions of UCPN (M) hold two separate programmes; establishment faction in Basantapur and Vaidya faction in Ratnapark. Chairperson Dahal does not attend establishment faction programme citing health reasons. Vice-chairperson and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai states that revolution and revolt do not happen on whims but through peaceful means. Vice-chairperson Vaidya criticises the establishment faction for being revisionists, opportunists, and elitist.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai meets President Ram Baran Yadav. Discussion on the peace and constitution-drafting process.
Congress president Sushil Koirala addresses a mass meeting in Sarlahi. States Maoists are behind there being no progress in the peace and constitution-drafting process. Warns of tabling a vote of no-confidence against the government if the peace process is not concluded by April 12.

April 7

Meeting of the Constitutional Committee decides to send the report of the State Restructuring Commission to the dispute resolution sub-committee.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai expresses confidence that there will be agreement among the parties on army integration by April 9 and focus will shift on constitution-drafting. In a press release issued by his personal secretary Bishwodeep Pandey, he urged the parties to help in the peace process and constitution-drafting.
Team from the secretariat of AISC reach Maoist cantonments. Combatants will be given another opportunity to choose voluntary retirement.
Society of Citizens Disappeared by the State hold discussion with the leaders of UCPN (M), Congress, and UML. The leaders express commitment to immediately pass the bill on the Commission on Disappeared and Truth and Reconciliation Commission from the parliament.