Nepal Prez asks parties to end stalemate over Constitution

KATHMANDU, Dec 5:  Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has warned of a “serious crisis” if the political parties could not end the current stalemate over the Constitution amendment bill and hold elections by January 2018 for implementing the statute.
President Bhandari called an all-party meeting at Shital Niwas yesterday and expressed concern over political instability.
The four-hour long meeting was attended by the ruling parties the CPN (Maoist Centre), the Nepali Congress, the main opposition CPN-UML and the Madhes-based parties.
In the meeting, she advised the parties to work jointly on holding the three layers of elections.
The Constitution implementation requires the local, provincial and federal polls to be held by January 2018.
“Constitution implementation has not taken on momentum as expected. If the three elections are not held within January 2018, the country will face a serious crisis. This looming risk has left me worried,” one of the leaders, who was present at the meeting, quoted the president as saying.
“If disagreements continue among the political parties, others might try to influence us. I suggest the leaders to move forward while prioritising national sovereignty and unity among the political forces,” she was quoted as saying by another leader.
The government registered a Constitution amendment bill in Parliament last Tuesday with an aim to address the demands of the Madhes-based parties, mainly over the provincial boundaries, citizenship, language and representation in the Upper House.
However, the parties have not come to an agreement about the amendment bill.
The Madhesi political parties want the revision of the Constitution amendment bill as they think their demands have not been met.
“If it is not reviewed, the gap between the state and the Madhesi people could increase further,” expressed Mahantha Thakur, the Chairman of Terai Madhes Democratic Party.
Similarly, the opposition parties including the CPN (UML) wants the Constitution amendment proposal to be withdrawn.
They are objecting to the proposed change in boundaries of Province 5.
In response to the demand of the Madhesi parties, Prime Minister Prachanda is learned to have expressed his readiness to revise the amendment proposal in order to reach a political consensus for the sake of implementing the constitution.
“We are ready to consider amending the bill if that helps break the deadlock,” Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav quoted Prachanda as saying.
Meanwhile, UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli reportedly told the ruling parties and the President that his party was fully committed to holding the polls. (AGENCIES)


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