Nepal’s political parties will sit on Thursday for some in-depth discussions - two days ahead of September 6 deadline set by the House for the parties to agree on contentious issues of the constitution.
Various meetings have been fixed between major political parties and the Madhesi parties from early in the Thursday morning, according to a decision of the Political-Constitutional Dialogue and Consensus Committee today.
The major political parties that include Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) will themselves hold a meeting before sitting with the Madhesi parties.
“Tomorrow’s meetings will be important, as they will mainly focus on the issues of federalism and forms of governance,” says Baburam Bhattarai, the Committee’s chairperson.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal has put forth the concept of 10 provinces, saying that if NC and UML agree on it, his party would be flexible on the forms of governance. Dahal’s proposal of 10 provinces has been supported by the Madhesi parties.
On the other hand, NC and UML have said that the number of provinces should not cross seven. As various separate meetings of top leaders are still going on, it is difficult to say in what manner the meetings planned for tomorrow (Thursday) would come to an end, according to the Committee members.
On forms of governance, UCPN (M) supports a directly elected executive president, while the NC supports a parliamentary system in which the parliament elects the Prime Minister. Likewise, UML stands for a Prime Minister directly elected by the people’s vote.
As for the Madhesi parties, all of them except Upendra Yadav’s Madhesi Janadhikar Forum support the Nepali Congress’s proposal of the parliamentary system. Yadav has extended support to the UCPN (M)’s proposal of a directly elected executive president.
If the parties fail to reach a consensus by Saturday (September 6), there is a legal provision for the House to decide issues through majority vote of the lawmakers.
Speaker Subash Nembang has already reminded the parties that he would have no option than to go for this regular process of majority vote, post-September 6.
NC and UML have a very comfortable majority in the House and want the regular process (of majority vote) to go ahead, whereas the UCPN (M), Madhesi parties and some other fringe parties are firmly against it.