POLITICS What After May 27?

Whether there is a constitution or not, Nepal’s political instability will continue even after May 27<br>A CORRESSPODENT

March 19, 2012, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 05 No. -17 Mar. 16-2012 (Chaitra 03, 2068)<BR>

“Nepal will face an unimaginable situation in case the Constituent Assembly fails to promulgate the constitution by May 27,” thundered prime minister Baburam Bhattarai. In a recent meeting of Constitutional Committee of Constituent Assembly, prime minister Bhattarai urged political parties to agree on constitutional issues and peace process.

Former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has a different prescription. “If CA fails to promulgate the new constitution, one option will be to reinstate the constitution of 1990,” said former prime minister Deuba. “ The best option before us will be to hold the fresh elections of Constituent Assembly.”

“If Nepali Congress and CPN-UML agree to our demands for executive president, we will be flexible in the integration and other issues for constitution,” said UCPN-Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda. “I don’t want to talk ifs and buts, I am confident that we will promulgate the new constitution before May 27. We can even extend the tenure of CA by amending the constitution. The Legislature Parliament has the right to amend the constitution.”

CPN-UML leader and former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said that there is the need to have two governments. He argues that the present problem is an outcome of only one government.” W e need two governments: one for constitution writing and another for running day to administrations of the country,” said Nepal.  “If we have broader political agreement, we can avert future political crisis.”

Above four statements of major political parties indicated that political leaders seem to be prepared for coming crisis. Some argue that parties will find a political agreement at the last minute and they can come out with some forms constitution and go for the court to extend the tenure to complete the document.

“I am confident that political parties will ultimately agree to promulgate the new constitution. They will not let opportunity for regressive elements to rise,” said Subhash Chandra Nembang, chairman of Constituent Assembly. “Political leaders will also show the wisdom.”

CA chair Nembang has reason to be confident as political leaders agree to avert the crisis at the last minute.  As a petition to review the apex court’s verdict on CA’s tenure is in the court’s bench, parties may choose the way to amend the constitution to extend the tenure of CA and avoid the political crisis.

Large number of international players including Nepal’s two neighbors too have a key stake in constitution writing and peace process and Nepal’s political parties are not alone as the factor to influence final outcome.

The leaders of the major political parties have been holding round after round of talks to speed up the drafting of the new constitution and promulgating it by May 27, the Constituent Assembly deadline. Yet, uncertainty remains as it is.

Given the present political stalemate, it seems that Nepal will miss the deadline for promulgation of the new constitution and integration of Maoist combatants by the May 27 deadline. Although political leaders have various prescription and prediction after May 27, one thing is certain nothing will bring political stability in near future.

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