Nepal’s constitutional talks almost dead as leaders slope off to bed

Things are looking very bad this evening as the Constituent Assembly looks set to be dissolved. Perhaps unlike the Koiralas of yesteryear, these young 50-80 somethings just don’t have it in them to pull all-nighters.

Parties blame each other for the failure

The ongoing negotiations among the major political forces to forge an agreement on disputed issues including state-restructuring and promulgate the new constitution by Sunday failed after the UCPN-Maoist and the United Democratic Madhesi Front had irrevocable differences with the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML over several issues.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Maoist and Nepali Congress leaders held each other responsible for the failure of negotiations held at the Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar Saturday late afternoon.

Accusing the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML of being obstacle of an agreement and democratic procedure, UCPN-Maoist Vice Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that an unfortunate situation has arrived.

“Constituent Assembly is on the verge of dissolution and the process for that has begun,” he emotionally told the media corps, pointing finger at the NC and UML for the situation. “Constituent Assembly held discussion for four years, and this is happening without the Constituent Assembly members getting to know.”

By calling the meeting of its Parliamentary Party this morning, Shrestha said, the CPN-UML disregarded the talks on constitution, which was fixed yesterday. “Nepali Congress and UML repeated their old stances at the meeting rather than focusing on the points of agreement,” he stated.

“They did not show readiness to resort to the CA when we asked to go there to resolve the issues related to state-restructuring as we could not agree upon them.” This is a mockery of democracy, he said, “This shows how autocratic attitude the parties that have claimed themselves to be the Messiah of democracy have.”

“ We said we have to bear a moral duty to inform the Constituent Assembly about the issues that could not be resolved,” he said, “Instead a big conspiracy was hatched to dissolve the Constituent Assembly without the Constituent Assembly members’ getting to know the matter.”

On the other hand, Nepali Congress Vice President and Parliamentary Party leader Ram Chandra Paudel said that the meeting ended inconclusively as UCPN-Maoist and United Democratic Madhesi showed unwillingness to resolve the issues of federalism. He had emerged from the meeting before the Maoist and Madhesi leaders and spoke the media first.

According to him. Nepali Congress put forth a proposal either to take up multi-ethnic identity as the basis of federalism or decide the issues related to state-restructuring through a federal commission and transitional parliament. The NC had suggested that if the federalism would base on multiple identity, language and capability then it was ready to consider the number of federal states.

Paudel claimed that Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal walked out when the meeting was underway, only to be followed by the Madhesi Morcha leaders. Shrestha defended that Dahal went outside but did not walk out of the meeting.

Raj Kishor Yadav of Madhesi Janadhikari Forum-Republican, however, claimed that the talks were aborted after the Maoists and the UDMF could not agree upon a “strange proposal” floated by the Nepali Congress.

According to him, Paudel proposed to resolve the disputed issues through the purported transitional parliament in four months and if they could not be resolved then go to fresh elections.

“We asked them to go to the Constituent Assembly and vote on the issues,” Yadav said, “But they showed reluctance grieving that their lawmakers are not under their control.”

Saying the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML were neither ready to build up an agreement nor take to the democratic procedure, Yadav said the parties would be responsible if the constitution could not be promulgated (tomorrow).

The leaders, however, said that efforts to build an agreement will continue.

Shrestha said the Maoist party was ready for an agreement but there was no essence of talks if only old stances would be repeated.

According to him, despite the conspiracies against the CA his party would remain committed to the making of the constitution as per the people’s aspirations and for their freedom.

After the four-side meeting, the parties left Baluwatar and headed to Singha Durbar in order to hold their internal meetings.

Meanwhile, the Constituent Assembly meeting rescheduled for 5 pm has been put off for tomorrow.

Earlier, the CA meeting was called for 11 am today.

From Himalayan Times

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