Constituent Assembly: The Day the Deadline Expires

congress vs maoist. game of talks

As the clock ticks down to the expiry of Constituent Assembly (CA) term, the political parties have intensified internal and cross-party talks from early Saturday. The political parties are holding intense negotiations to forge an agreement for the extension of the CA term.

The Legislature-Parliament slated for 8 am in the morning convened at 11:12 at night.

Updates via eKantipur:

01:30 Sunday: A meeting between the major three parties and the SLMM begins.

00:52: The Legislature-Parliament session, which was supposed to resume at 00:00 am, has not been started yet.

11:49: The major three parties have finally clinched the agreement to extend the CA term.

11:45: The session of the Legislature-Parliament has been put off till 12:00 am.

11:43: Law Minister Prabhu Sah has tabled the government’s bill to amend the government’s bill to amend the Interim Constitution.

RPP-N Parliamentary Party leader Chandra Bahadur Gurung has delivered his speech regarding the party’s protest proposal against the bill registered by the governmet to extend the CA term. The proposal has been disapproved by majority.

11:12: The Legislature-Parliament session has kicked off.

10:00: The alliance of five Madhes-based parties—Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha—has decided to boycott the elections, saying that the three big parties disregarded them in the 9:49 pm meeting of the NC, Maoists and the UML.

The Madhes-based parties have been demanding that 10,000 Madhesi youths should be included in the Nepal Army, Madhesh should be annopunced ‘one Madhes one Pradesh’ and Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal should resign from his post.

9:49: Three-party talks kicks off.

8:30 pm:  The three-party meet is underway after the bilateral talks among the parties

8:15 pm: After the meeting with the Madhesi parties, NC has started its talks with the UML leaders. UML Chairman and PM Jhala Nath Khanal is also present in the meeting.

8:00 pm: CPN-UML senior leader KP Sharma Oli arrives at the CA hall for the Legislature Parliament.

7:45 pm: The blockage at the Koteshwor-Maitighar road in the Capital has been lifted. However, the security around the CA hall is tightened.

7:10 pm: After the meeting with the Maoists, the SLMM leaders have started a meeting with the NC leaders.

7:00 pm: Maoist-SLMM meeting ends. “We discussed the demands of the Madhesi parties and the Maoists. We also asked for the resignation of the Prime Minister Khanal. But we have not decided everything yet,” said Tarai Madhesh Loktantrik Party leader Hridayesh Tripathi.

6:20 pm: The Legislature-Parliament slated to start at 8 am has still not started. Even the lawmakers are unaware of the talks between the different party leaders’ meeting. “We have no idea what is going on. I f you do please inform us,” a lawmaker confessed with a media person.

5:35 pm: Nepali communities across the country and abroad are anxious about the CA term extension. Number of news viewers/readers rising exponentially, eKantipur correspondents confirmed.

5:30 pm: Nepal Majdur Kisaan Party (NMKP) has decided to vote for the extension of the CA term, says Secretary Sunil Prajapati.

5:20 pm: “Maoist is not vying for the resignation of PM. That is not a pressing matter at the moment. NC’s proposal of the three month term extension for the peace process and further three month extension for the constitution is not practical”, says Maoist Spokesperson Dinnath Sharma.

5:00: Maoist hold meeting with Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) at the CA hall.

5:00 pm: “Discussions going well. We are talking about extending the term for 6 months. 1-3 months would focus on the peace process. We are discussing about scrapping the Maoists’ double security system,” said Maoist SC member Barsa Man Pun.

4:30 pm: Talks held between Maoist and NC

3 pm: Big three talks underway at the CA hall.

1:25 pm: UML SC meet concludes.

12:30 pm: Informal negotiations between the Maoist and Nepali Congress underway.

12:15 pm: Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal (MJF-N) Parliamentary Party (PP) meet underway.

12 noon: Demonstrations in front of the CA hall continue.

11:30 am: UML SC meeting underway.

11:15 am: Cadres of UML-aligned Youth Association Nepal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party- Nepal, Aadibasi Janajaati Mahasangh, Chhetri Community and many more picket the CA building. Youth Association Nepal captures the space used by the RPP-N earlier for their protest activities.

11:15 am: CPN-UML SC meeting held. Decides to urge for the CA term extension till the last moment.

11 am: UCPN (Maoist) Standing Committee (SC) meeting held at Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s residence at Naya Bazaar. Finalises the PLA integration work-plan. Decides not to hand over the arms at the moment.

11 am: Meeting of the Nepali Congress Parliamentary leaders and lawmakers hold their earlier stance.

11 am: lawmakers take a lunch-break as the meeting called at 8 has not started yet.

10 am: Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal holds talks with President Ram Baran Yadav.

9 am: Huge numbers of Security personnel present outside the Constituent Assembly hall. Protestors and pressurising units have started to pour in.

8 am: least number of lawmakers present for the Legislature Parliament meet.

NC depicts flexibility amid uncertainty

 Amid uncertainty over the fate of the Constituent Assembly (CA), the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC), which was—until a little earlier on Saturday—rigid on its position, is apparently considering extending the CA term by adopting a middle path approach.

In a bid to forge a consensus to give a fresh lease of life to the CA, the major three parties—UCPN (Maoist), NC and CPN-UML—are holding talks at the CA building in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu.

The leaders are reportedly discussing the fresh proposals brought forth by the Maoists and UML.

According to sources, the Maoists have proposed removing the ‘dual security system’ from today itself, and regroup its combatants for integration and rehabilitation within a month and complete the remaining tasks within the next two months. Likewise, the Maoists have proposed to integrate seven thousand combatants.

In what could pave the way for extending the CA term, the NC seems flexible on the Maoists’ proposal. However, the NC has maintained its position that the keys to the containers storing Maoists weapons should be handed over to the government as a symbolic step towards it commitment.

Likewise, the NC has proposed extending the CA term for one month in the first phase to complete the regrouping of combatants and again extend another two months for releasing the new constitution.

If the Maoists do not agree on the NC proposal then the party could go for extending the CA term by three months.

The NC which described Friday’s talks as ‘frustrating’ have become flexible apparently under pressure to find a middle-path solution for extending the CA term.

NC President Sushil Koirala, who no where in his recent interviews to the media seemed flexible on the party’s stand, has reportedly told his party aides to agree extend the CA term by taking the Maoists’ confidence on the calendar of events.

But NC General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula have been sticking to the previous stand that the party should not agree to extend CA term until the Maoists hand over the key to the weapon storage.

Some of the leaders have expressed concern over Sitaula’s stand. The Maoists submitted their new proposal to the NC leaders at 11 this morning.

However, the UML has proposed forming a new government under the NC leadership if the regrouping of Maoist combatants could not complete within a month. (source)

Emergency UML SC meet bears no fruit

By Bhadra Sharma (edited by: Anurup Upadhyay)
The emergency meeting of the CPN-UML Standing Committee (SC) called ahead of the three-party meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Singhadurbar ended inconclusively on Saturday.

The meeting, which primarily dwelt on the issues of Constituent Assembly (CA)’s term extension and UCPN (Maoist)’s arms management, failed to yield an outcome after the leaders stuck to their previous stances, sources confirmed.

Emerging after the meeting, UML senior leader K.P. Sharma Oli underlined that the CA’s term must not be extended unless a vital progress is attained with the peace process.

However, the SC meet has decided to continue discussions over the issues in the three-party meet, which is expected to commence shortly. (source)

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