Kathmandu, Nov 29, The tenure of the Constituent Assembly (CA) was extended Tuesday by another six months after its expiry on Wednesday.
The Legislature-Parliament meeting passed the 11th amendment bill on Nepalís Interim Constitution allowing for a 6-month term extension of the CA as sought by the government.
This is the fourth time that the CA term has been extended. The 1st CA tenure extension was of one year, and the 2nd and 3rd extensions were of three months each. The historical constituent assembly elections had formed the CA with a mandate to write the constitution in two years. The CA failed to meet the mandated deadline owing to the lack of substantial progress in the peace process necessitating the extensions of its tenures.
Energy Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati presented the government proposal which was endorsed by a two-thirds majority vote.
After the voting, Speaker Subas Nembang informed the parliament that the proposal garnered 505 votes in its favour while three Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal lawmakers voted against it.
A total of 508 votes were cast in the parliament which has 596 lawmakers.
Latecomers to the House, former prime minister Madav Nepal, Industry Minister Anil Jha, lawmakers Gagan Thapa, and Sovakar Parajuli, among others, missed their chance to vote.
No clause-wise discussion was held, informed Speaker Nembang.
The CA term extension was an obvious result of the six-point pact inked by the top leaders of three big parties and the Madeshi Front this morning.
Political leaders expressed their happiness over the CA tenure extension.
Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha told journalists that the constitution could be promulgated in the extended period as the parties were moving ahead with consensus.
"I believe that the tasks on peace and constitution will be completed now," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadhar said this was the last extension of the CA as per the Supreme Court verdictís spirit. The constitution would be promulgated within six months, he said.
He claimed that the present government would get the shape of a national consensus government to conclude the peace and constitution processes.
Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba said the constitution would be promulgated in the given time.
UML leader Madhav Nepal told journalists that to promulgate the constitution in the given time, parties and leaders should be responsible and must show promptness.
"The remaining issues should be settled through serious discussions," he said.
He stressed forming national consensus government soon and concluding the remaining tasks of the peace process.
"However, Iím more hopeful this time than earlier, because it is now mandatory that the tasks should be accomplished within six months," he said.
But, RPP-Nepal leader Chandra Bahadur Gurung blamed that the parties were against peace and constitution and the constitution could not be promulgated again.
The next meeting of the House is scheduled for Wednesday.
EU missions hail
CA term extension
EU missions, together with Norway and Switzerland, Tuesday welcomed the decision of the political parties to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly for another six months.
"The agreement to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly provides the political parties in Nepal with a renewed opportunity to promulgate a new democratic and inclusive Constitution within the next six months," said their joint statement issued here.
They said that the EU missions together with Norway and Switzerland believed that the extension would allow for a meaningful process of
public consultation on the constitution.
"We note and welcome the progress made so far on the categorisation of the former Maoist combatants. We look forward to continued commitment to complete categorisation and to further moves to complete integration and rehabilitation," said the statement.
They have stressed the need for Nepal to live up to fundamental human rights, and the need for the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission to meet the standards of international law.
"We also encourage the parties to meet their commitments on the return of seized land and the YCL."
They reaffirmed their full support to Nepalís peace and constitution processes.
Meanwhile, the Embassy of Japan has also welcomed the political consensus reached at the parliament to extend the term of the CA.
In a press statement, the Embassy also welcomed the detailed time-bound calendar agreed by the major political parties.
The Embassy has also wished for the implementation of the seven-point deal singed by the major parties on November 1.
"The Government and people of Japan are ever ready to assist Nepalís efforts for peace and constitution and are ready to go along with the people of Nepal," read the statement.