From Constituent Assembly Election to New Constitution

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Written By: Bhuwan KC/ Tilak Pathak

Change in Balance of Power
Election was held in the country for the second Constituent Assembly on November 19, 2013. The results changed the balance of power for the previous Constituent Assembly. The largest party in the first Constituent Assembly UCPN (M) got limited to the third position while the second largest party in the first Constituent Assembly became the largest in the second Constituent Assembly. The third largest party in the first Constituent Assembly UML became the second largest in the second Constituent Assembly. However, UCPN (M), Tarai-Madhes-centred parties, and small parties accused of irregularities in the Constituent Assembly elections. The result of proportional elections was late in coming. In the end, all parties accepted the results of the Constituent Assembly election. Now there were 30 parties in the Constituent Assembly. The first Constituent Assembly meeting took place on January 22, 2014 and from the 135th meeting, President Ram Baran Yadav signed the copy of the constitution approved by the Constituent Assembly and announced the promulgation of new constitution to the Nepali public.

Process of Constitution-drafting

The Constituent Assembly meeting of March 21, 2014 finalised the Constituent Assembly Regulations. To make the constitution-drafting process simple and effective, Constitution-drafting Committee, Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee, Constitutional Records Study and Determination Committee, Committee on Citizen Relations and Public Opinion Collection, Capacity Building and Resource Management Committee were formed. An earlier meeting of the Constituent Assembly took ownership of reports of the thematic committees of the first Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly meeting of April 4, 2014 approved a timetable that set the date of January 22, 2015 to promulgate the constitution.

Constitutional Records Study and Determination Committee finalised and submitted its report on the issues of agreement and contention from the various thematic committees of the first Constituent Assembly. Then discussion on disputed issues began in the Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee. During the discussions, the Committee could not find consensus on any major issues except on the issue of compulsory military service for those 18 years and above when formally demanded by the state. The Committee was given until September 6, 2014 to resolve the disputed issues. After there was no agreement in the Dialogue Committee on issues of form of government, state restructuring, judicial system and others, Congress, UML and other parties submitted separate proposals on these issues. This further created distance among the parties. After much dispute, the Dialogue Committee submitted its report to the Constituent Assembly after including the separate proposals from other parties as well. The Committee was given four opportunities to resolve the disputes. However, there was no agreement on any issues and further dispute arose on whether to send these disputed issues back to the Dialogue Committee or to decide through majority and send them to Constitution-drafting Committee.