Kathmandu, April 22
The much hyped meeting of the three major parties- UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML- along with United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) ended inconclusively on Sunday although the participating leaders claimed that they inched closer to agreement on all the remaining five contentious issues of the new constitution.
The meeting that was held on the day in which the deadline set for forging consensus on the remaining debated issues such as form of governance, judiciary, state restructuring, citizenship and electoral system did not make any breakthrough as expected in any of the issues.
"I believe we will be able to resolve dispute over judiciary and citizenship in tomorrow’s meeting," Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda informed the reporters after the meeting concluded at the Constituent Assembly building in New Baneshwor.
He said that the meeting was postponed for 9 am Monday.
Talking to The Rising Nepal, Maoist leader Khima Lal Devkota remarked that the meeting ended with a positive note as the top leaders of the major parties and the Madeshi Morcha were ready for any possible alternatives softening their partisan positions.
"On form of governance, the parties are ready to find a common ground depending on the report presented by the taskforce, on mixed electoral system, they are ready to agree to divide the percentage of first-past-the post and representation system around fifty-fifty, regarding citizenship, the only debate is on how to adjust principle of equality in relation to son-in-law of foreign origin in the context that the country has been providing citizenship to daughter-in-law within 35 days of marriage," Devkota said.
With respect to setting up of Constitutional Court, Devkota said that the parties were to agree on its jurisdiction only.
He said that the parties also inched close to agreement on state restructuring as they agreed in principle that the number of states as suggested by CA thematic committee should be slightly reduced. "There is no dispute that identity is one of the bases of federalism."
Elaborating on the parties’ discussions on judiciary, UML lawmaker Agni Kharel said that the parties had no difference that the Constitutional Court should be set up for deciding any possible dispute over rights of and between the center and the province, between the
provinces and province and local bodies. "The CC would be kept only for a certain period of time."
As in Hattiban Resort meeting, the leaders of the dissenting faction of the Maoist party also attended today’s meeting in which top leaders of the three parties that included Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who is also Maoist vice-chairman, UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala, general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, who is chairman of Madeshi Janadhikar Forum (Democratic), chairman of Terain Madesh Loktantrik Party Mahanta Thakur were present, among other leaders of the parties.
Earlier this morning, a meeting of three major political parties held failed to resolve the disputed issues of the constitution.
The meeting held at Constituent Assembly (CA) premises in New Baneswar failed to reach a consensus on the issues as they kept sticking to their own stands.
Top leaders of the UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and Unified Madhesi Front attended the meeting.
The meeting centered on the system of judiciary but failed to resolve the matter. The NC and UML have been standing against the idea of constitutional while the Maoists and Madhesh based parties in favour of it.
The NC and UML have proposed a provision of a constitutional bench under the Supreme Court while the Maoists have rejected the idea in favour of a separate constitutional court.
After the meeting, UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said that the parties were trying to reach a consensus regarding the disputed issues of the constitution and hoped that they would successfully resolve the issues.
NC parliamentary party leader Ramchandra Poudel said that the Maoist leaders had backtracked from agreements reached in the past. He, however, said that NC and UML were firm to respect those deals.
Chairman of Madheshi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) and Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar said that the meeting was positive and stressed that the parties had not alternative path to arriving at a consensus to promulgate the constitution within stipulated deadline.
Minister for Information and Communications Raj Keshor Yadav said that the evening meeting of major political parties would reach an agreement about the disputed issues of the constitution.
UCPN-Maoist leader Hitman Shakya said that a meeting to be held this evening will finalize the issues regarding the form of governance, judicial system, state-restructuring, citizenship and others.
Meanwhile in Lalitpur, Lawmakers and stakeholders have demanded to guarantee right to citizenship sans discrimination to men and women.
Speaking at an interaction organized by Inter Party Women Network here today, leaders of different political parties said that provision to provide citizenship to children in the name of mother should be guaranteed in the new constitution.
Chief whip of the UCPN (Maoist) Dev Prasad Gurung said that discrimination based on men and women should not be done for citizenship distribution as basis of identity was citizenship.
Likewise, chief whip of Nepali Congress Laxman Ghimire said provision of citizenship should be made strict adding that open border with neighboring countries could cause problems of dual citizenship by a foreigner.
Meanwhile Leaders of Newa: community have stressed a need to pile pressure from different walks of life to ensure Newa: Autonomous State with identity and capability in the new constitution.
Speaking at a program here today, State Minister for Land Reforms and Management Dilip Maharjan said that all people of Newa: community should unite till last hour to ensure their demand for Newa: Autonomous State.
He said though the Maoist party has two factions, both the factions were committed to the demand of Newa: State.
Likewise, lawmaker Dr Mangalsiddhi Manandhar said that the proposed Newa: Autonomous State was most viable from point of view of infrastructure adding that conspiracies were hatched against Newa: Autonomous State from different sectors.
Similarly, lawmaker Hitman Shakya urged all to participate for decisive movement for the cause of Newa: State.
Rights activist Malla K. Sundar said that depicting the past commitments made by the parties regarding the Newa: Autonomous State in a different note was a political dishonesty.