Finally, deal on 11 states, mixed governance model

 ३ जेष्ठ २०६९, बुधबार ०७:५४   | न्यूज अफ टोखा

In a major breakthrough on constitution writing, three major parties on Tuesday struck accord on forms of governance and state restructuring. They also committed to bring out the constitution before May 27.
Key coalition partner, the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM), also attended talks on Tuesday, but expressed reservations over the agreement to federate the country into 11 states.
“Morcha leaders have reservations on the state restructuring proposal, but they have agreed they will not create problems in promulgating the new constitution,” said Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The deal, therefore, is effectively ‘an agreement between the four sides’ that guarantees promulgation of the constitution within May 27, Dahal said. The understanding commits to introducing a mixed form of governance, in which a directly-elected president and a prime minister elected by the parliament will share executive powers. 

Parties are, however, yet to say how the powers will be distributed between the heads of state and the government. Tuesday’s understanding says that the parliament will hold supremacy.
The agreement says that the parliament will have a system of checks and balances that will check the powers of the president and the PM.Sources said there has been an understanding to give authority to the parliament to revoke decisions taken by the president, while the president will reserve the right to ask the PM to prove majority in the parliament if s/he so decides. Parties are preparing to finalise the distribution of powers as per recommendations made by the Laxman Lal Karna-led taskforce last year. The panel, which was formed to suggest a compromise on forms of governance, had recommended that issues like defence, foreign policy and constitutional appointments will be handled both by the president and the PM based on mutual consent.
Parties have agreed to form 11 “multi-ethnic provinces,” which will ensure equal rights to people from all ethnic groups, nationalities, religions and cultures. Leaders have also tentatively reached an understanding on geographical boundaries.
They are, however, yet to take a decision on federating some districts including Myagdi, Baglung, Salyan, Rukum, Dhading, Makawanpur and Rashuwa. Leaders have also committed to an “undivided” Far West that covers nine districts of the Seti and Mahakali zones.
A central federal commission will make recommendations on the delineation of the state boundaries and prescribe the names—a point that has already been criticised by some Madhesi and Janajati leaders.
Though Tuesday’s draft does not spell out the timeline for the territory demarcation, leaders who attended the talks said the commission will submit its report within “two to three months of its formation.”
The parliamentary body that will replace the CA after the promulgation of the new constitution will take a final call on the issue. The three-party agreement gives state assemblies a final say on the names of the states.
Parties have also finalised the electoral system and announced a common position on judiciary. As per the understanding, bicameral legislatures with 376 members will be formed in the centre.
There will be a 311-member lower chamber that will be called the House of Representatives and 171 seats in it will be filled according to the first-past-the-post system, while 140 will be filled through the proportional election system. The 65-member National Assembly will have five members elected from each of the 11 states and 10 imminent personalities nominated by the president based on the recommendation of the council of ministers.
Each constituency for the first-past-the-post elections in the central assembly will be divided into two constituenties while electing members of state assemblies.
There will be at least 32 directly-elected representatives in the lower assemblies and the size would go up to around 50 if proportional electoral system is also incorporated in the elections.
Parties have also committed to form local bodies in accordance with the law. They have further agreed to form a Constitutional Court under the Chairmanship of the Chief Justice for five years with a mandate to resolve disputes between the states, the states and the centre and between the states and lower bodies.
Apart from two seniormost justices of the Supreme Court, two legal experts with qualifications required for the position of the apex court’s judge, will be nominated by the council of ministers for the five-member Constitutional Court. The president will appoint the two justices on the recommendation of the council of ministers.
The parties also agreed to appoint judges through the Judicial Council, which will be chaired by the Chief Justice and will include two seniormost judges, the law minister and a representative from the Nepal Bar Association. There will not be a reappointment provision, but judges should take fresh oath as per the new constitution, the agreement drafted by Nepali Congress General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula says.
“The country will now get a new constitution that will ensure the supremacy of the parliament,” said NC Parliamentary Party
leader Ram Chandra Poudel.
“The agreement has addressed demands of various minority and ethnic groups.”
UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said the new understanding ended the state of uncertainty and showed that the parties can come together to make a new constitution. “The agreement shows that despite differences, within and between them, political parties can make an understanding,” he said.
Leaders on Tuesday started the process of formalising the informal agreement in the Constituent Assembly.
The agreement was briefed to the fringe parties by top leaders on Tuesday afternoon and presented in the Dispute Resolution Sub-committee under the Constitutional Committee the same evening. The Dahal-led subcommittee formed a seven-member taskforce to prepare a proposal based on the deal and produce it in Wednesday’s meeting of the sub-panel.
The taskforce comprises Barsha Man Pun and Khim Lal Devkota from the Maoists, Radhe Shyam Adhikari and Ramesh Lhekhak from the NC, Bhim Rawal and Agni Kharel from the UML and Kalpana Rana.
The Constitutional Committee will deliberate on the agreement from Thursday, according to NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi.
Nembang hails deal
Constituent Assembly (CA) Chairman Subas Nembang has said that Tuesday’s agreement among major political forces has laid the foundation for promulgating a new constitution before May 27. Nembang also urged the political parties for the optimum utilization of the remaining period to accomplish the task. He said that the process of preparing the first draft of the constitution has begun.
Prez summons  House session
President Ram Baran Yadav has summoned the 11th session of the parliament for Thursday at 4 pm. President Yadav called the House session on the recommendation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The PM had earlier met the President in Sheetal Niwas to recommend for summoning the House.
The agreement
    Country to be federated into 11 provinces
    Mixed form of governance
    An ‘undivided’ Far West that covers nine districts
    Central Federal Commission to recommend delineation
    Bicameral legislatures with 376 members in centre
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अन्तिम अपडेट: ३ जेष्ठ २०६९, बुधबार ०७:५४

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