Alliance for Social Dialogue

:: Nepal in Transition Monthly Updates Discussions aplenty, without Outcome (April 15-21)
Sunday, 22 April 2012 11:59

Discussions aplenty, without Outcome (April 15-21)

After reaching consensus on disputed issues of the peace process, political parties become focused on also seeking consensus on constitution-drafting issues. For this purpose, UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) reached Hattiban Resort at Pharping. For two days, they held group and separate discussions on form of government, election system, judicial system, citizenship issues, and state restructuring. The talks and discussions attended by top leaders could not reach any consensus.

The parties stood their positions in the discussions on state restructuring, form of government, judicial system. Though agreement was reached on mixed elections, they could not decide on the ratio of proportional and directly elected members. Then followed several rounds of meeting between UCPN (M), Congress, and UML. Congress and UML held meetings to form a common opinion on issue of the constitution; UCPN (M) and UDMF leaders also held separate meetings. UCPN (M) and UDMF reached an agreement to cooperate on constitution-drafting.

In the meantime, dispute resolution sub-committee under the Constitutional Committee asked the Business Advisory Committee to resolve the dispute issues in the constitution. The Business Advisory Committee extended the deadline upon the request of the parties, and an agreement was reached to hold a meeting of the Constituent Assembly on April 23. After the Business Advisory Committee extended the deadline by five days, the leaders claimed that they would resolve all outstanding issues within the time limits.

The government expressed its willingness to create an atmosphere for constitution-drafting and also asked civil society, professional groups, and various organisations to not call for bandas to an appropriate atmosphere for constitution-drafting. Prime minister met the President Ram Baran Yadav to apprise him of the discussion on constitution-drafting. The President asked the prime minister to focus on constitution-drafting. Though the political leaders claimed they were near consensus and increased their consultations, no consensus on any of the disputed issues was forthcoming.

Major Developments

April 15

The leaders of UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and UDMF gather in Hattiban Resort at Pharping to seek consensus on the disputed issues of the constitution.
Meeting of Council of Ministers approved the terms of reference for army integration. Decides to create necessary environment for constitution-drafting. Asks civil society, social organisations, professional organisations and political parties to not call any banda, strikes and protest programmes until May 27 to create an atmosphere for constitution-drafting.
Meeting of UML standing committee decides to be flexible for constitution-drafting.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomes the parties’ decision to handover the control of Maoist cantonments and combatants to the Nepal Army. Asks the parties to conclude the peace process and promulgate the constitution on time.

April 16

Discussion among UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and UDMF on disputed issues of the constitution in Hattiban Resort at Pharping. The leaders claim being close to a consensus on state restructuring, forms of government, election systems, and citizenship issues. Karnali Struggle Committee and Janajati organisations hold sit-in programmes on the road leading to the Resort.
Meeting between prime minister Baburam Bhattarai and CA chairperson Subash Nemwang. The prime minister apprises the chairperson the discussions being held among the parties on the constitution.

April 17

Meeting of the Public Accounts Committee of the parliament directs the government to account for RS 460 million spent on the management of the Maoist cantonments.
Meeting of the Constitutional Committee endorses the decision of the dispute resolution sub-committee to seek additional five days to resolve disputes.
Meeting of dispute resolution sub-committee proposes to seek five days to resolve disputes. Leaders claim that disputes can be resolved within five days.
Meeting between CA chairperson and top leaders of UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, and UML. Chairperson Nemwang states if there is no resolution of disputes by April 23, the issues will be decided through voting.
CA members stage sit-in in front of the office of the dispute resolution sub-committee. Sub-committee coordinator Pushpa Kamal Dahal addresses the CA members and claims agreement will be reached within a few days.
Meeting of Army Integration Special Committee. The Chief of Army Staff Chhatra Man Singh Gurung asks the Committee to finalise the leadership, positions and their numbers in the directorate to be formed after integration. The Committee decides the combatants once enter training will be under Nepal Army Act 2006.

April 18

Meeting between the President Ram Baran Yadav and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai. The President praises the government and the parties for their role in concluding the peace process and asks them to work on constitution-drafting and formation of consensus government.
Meeting of UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, and UML at Singha Durbar reaches an agreement to shorten the process of endorsing the articles of the constitution. The parties agree to endorse articles in groups or combined instead of the provision of article-wise endorsement. Discussion on formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on the Disappeared. Decision is taken to finalise after consultation with members of the dispute resolution sub-committee.
Meeting CA Business Advisory Committee schedules CA meeting for April 23 and also decides if no consensus reached by April 22, the disputed issues will be resolved through voting from April 23 onwards.
Nepali Congress issues a whip where it asks its CA members not to leave country until May 27. It states that constitution has to be drafting by concluding the peace process and CA meeting can be called at any time.

April 19

The number of Maoist combatants opting for integration decreases. In the first phase, 9705 had opted for integration, now the number stands at 3128.
Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities submits a memorandum to UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Dahal states that UCPN (M) will not compromise on the issue of federalism with ethnic identity.
Meeting of UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, and UML at Singha Durbar decides to combine the Commission on Truth and Reconciliation and Commission for the Disappeared.
United Dalit Political Struggle Committee meets CA chairperson Subash Nemwang and asks for its demands to be included in the new constitution.
Meeting of the Council of Ministers decides to amend the article 70 of the Interim Constitution.
Pushpa Lal Memorial Foundation organises a programme in the capital. UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal says that additional one month can be added through consensus if the constitution cannot be promulgated by May 27. He argues that the Maoists cannot still be trusted even though their arms are under the Nepal Army.
Meeting between Nepali Congress an UML in an attempt to form a common position on federalism and form of government.
Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala in Khotang states the prime minister Baburam Bhattarai should resign to form a consensus government.

pril 20

Adivasi Janajati CA Members’ Caucus meets UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, suggests Dahal not to back down form federalism based on identity. UCPN (M) chairperson Dahal states that he is not in favour drafting a constitution that weakens identity.
Adivasi Janajati CA Members’ Caucus meets Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala. Congress president states the state restructuring would be based on identity and capability.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal states that now no one can run away from drafting the constitution and the constitution will address the issues of change and prosperity of the people.
UCPN (M) and Nepali Congress, UCPN (M) and UML hold separate meetings on disputes issues of the constitution. No agreement could be reached.

April 21

The leaders of UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and UDMF discuss the disputed issues of the constitution.
Meeting between UCPN (M) and UDMF at the prime minister’s residence in Baluwatar reaches an agreement to form a common position on the disputed issues in the constitution. Decision is also taken to turn the present government into a national government through discussion with Congress and UML.
UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal claims that since there has been progress in the peace process, the new constitution will be promulgated by May 27.
Meeting between leaders of UCPN (M) and Nepali Congress. Discussion on the disputed issues. Claims of the discussion being positive.