The Legislature-Parliament avatar of the Constituent Assembly today endorsed the bill seeking to extend the term of the CA by six more months. This is the fourth extension of the CA term. Like it was in August when the CA was extended for three months, this time too there was not much drama (inside the CA of haggling by the politicians and outside the CA hall of protesters shouting against the extension). But the atmosphere was entirely different back in May when the CA was extended for three months amidst chaos.
Of the 508 lawmakers present at the House session, 505 voted in favour of the bill seeking amendment to the Interim Constitution that would pave way for extending the CA term, while three lawmakers voted against the bill. The government on Thursday tabled a bill on the 11th amendment to the Interim Constitution proposing a six-month extension beyond the November 30 deadline.
The CA, which was elected in April 2008 with a two-year term to write a constitution and take the peace process to a logical conclusion, has already been extended three times before this. None of the works have been finished till now. Continue reading
Despite all the chaos and apparent differences of positions/opinions/ideologies of political parties, they have made significant progress in drafting a new constitution. If one looks at the debates that have occurred in the CA over the past year and a half, it is clear that although differences between parties have persisted, there have also been major attempts to discuss issues and attempts to find adequate methods to address them.
There is a tendency in Nepali society that views the proceedings in the Constituent Assembly (CA) with great negativity and foreboding. The differences between the parties on important issues regarding the constitution go so deep, this line of analysis goes, that finding compromise is impossible. Those who believe this never expected the CA process to move as far as it has: to the stage where all 11 thematic committees have submitted their concept papers, they have been discussed and the next task is for the Constitutional Committee (CC) to write a complete draft of the constitution in the next month. Even now, the nay-sayers continue to disparage the process, emphasising the incomplete nature of the concept papers and the major differences between parties that yet remain to be resolved.
This reading is based on the premise that there is broadly one main fault line in the CA: between the Maoists and the ethnic/regional parties on the one side and the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML on the other. This chasm between the two sides is so deep, it is thought, that bridging it is impossible. This is, however, a misreading of the situation. If one looks at the debates that have occurred in the CA over the past year and a half, it is clear that although differences between parties have persisted, there have also been major attempts to discuss issues and attempts to find adequate methods to address them. In many of these cases, in fact, there is agreement on the nature of the problems of Nepali state and society. The differences between parties are only regarding how to resolve them. Continue reading
With the lapse of time, whether the history of ruling monarch will repeat in changed form? This fear hangs over the mind of common people, as the present Constitutional developments are not so encouraging.
By Suryabahadur Singh
The constitutional evolutionary phases were continuously witnessed throughout the development process in Nepal. The post second Jan-andolan,2062 (2005) period has provided ample opportunities for stabilizing and institutionalizing the institutional democracy, peace and constitutional reforms. The formation of Constituent Assembly has raised the common man’s hope of period getting a constitutional solution forever. The Nepalese masses have not forgotten that, the Constituent assembly was a mere declaration by the King Mahendra in 2007(1950) and the successive constitutions were formed by the related Constitution drafting committees. At that time, the constitutional experts were hand picked, the rigidity, abstract law, limited constitutional resources, least judicial developments and impact of ruling monarch were major hurdles in the way of making appropriate Nepali constitution. Along with this, soaring socio-economic problems has obstructed a lot for experimenting with past six constitutions having colors, flavor and impact of then existing time. Continue reading