Bhuwan KC/ Tilak Pathak
President Ram Baran Yadav encouraged the parties to find consensus and prepare atmosphere for CA election in April-May, yet the political parties could not agree among themselves. Mainly, the coalition parties were against an alternative to the prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, while the opposition parties were in favour of exit of coalition Bhattarai government and Congress President Sushil Koirala becoming the prime minister. The role of UCPN (M) appeared to vacillate through it all.
Bhuwank KC/ Tilak Pathak
After the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA) on May 27, the political parties were set on a collision course. Though they had announced new elections to the CA for November 22, 2012, it could not be held due to lack of consensus among the parties. Most of the time, they were focused on accusations and counter-accusations. The parties did not budge from their stances despite efforts at consensus. Instead, they started forming fronts against each other. Instead of political consensus, this pushed the country towards further polarisation
Though the President Ram Baran Yadav took lead in managing the political transition and encouraged consensus, power-centric politics of the parties became an obstacle. The parties not only ignored the President’s encouragements and suggestions, they attempted to use the Office of the President for their own advantage. This created occasional rifts between the Office of the President and the Office of the Prime Minister. Despite accusing each other and refusing to accept the other’s leadership, they have given continuity to meetings and discussions. When there was no consensus between the parties and the government announced another date for the elections in April 2013, the President called for consensus government. With differences on the government, the constitution, elections among others, the parties could not recommend a consensus prime minster, and the series of extending the deadline for new government formation at the request of the parties by the President began.
The Constituent Assembly (CA) was dissolved without fulfilling its main responsibility of promulgating a constitution. Despite trying for four years, the political parties could not draft it. Towards the end, mainly UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and UDMF had held discussions on the disputed issues of constitution-drafting. However, there was no concrete outcome. Although the parties had reached agreement on forming federal states on the basis of identity and capability, there was sharp division on whether to name them based on a single ethnic or multi-ethnic identity. UCPN (M) and UDMF were in favour of single identity while Congress and UML were for multi-identity. When there was no consensus on this, the parties discussed alternatives. There was no agreement among the parties on this. The CA could not even sit because there was no agreement among the parties. As the discussions were going, deadline was nearing. In the meantime, prime minister Baburam Bhattarai announced a new election to the CA on November 22, 2012, and the CA deadline passed.
There was no consensus among the parties on state restructuring, which has remained one of the most disputed issues in constitution-drafting. The dispute remained whether state restructuring should be based on a single identity or multi-identity. While there was no consensus among UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on the number of states and their delineation, the government decided to extend the Constituent Assembly (CA) for three months by amending the Interim Constitution (2006).
UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, and UML reached a five-point agreement on state bodies, form of government, formation of parliament, judiciary, and constitutional court, which included the multi-ethnic character of all the states, 11 states under state restructuring, states to be named by the state assemblies, and a formation of a central federal commission for delineating boundaries of the states. The agreement also included a mixed form of government of directly elected president and prime minister elected through the parliament, mixed election system, 311-member Lower House and 65-member Upper House, formation of constitutional court chaired by the Chief Justice.
While UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and United Madhesi Democratic Front (UDMF) were engaged in discussions on state restructuring, the country saw protests and bandas for and against it. There was no agreement among the parties after UCPN (M) went for naming the provinces after single ethnic groups and other parties were against naming the provinces after ethnicity. In the meantime, the bandas for undivided far west and Mithila continued.
UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) who had been engaged in discussions to resolve the disputed of the constitution have entered into a national consensus government. Nepali Congress and UML put on pressure on prime minister Baburam Bhattarai to resign to pave the way for a national consensus government. they warned the prime minister of brining a vote of no confidence if he did not resign.