Consensus on Disputed Issues of Constitution

The political parties do not have much differences and disputes on judiciary such as formation of constitutional court and electoral system of election such as inclusive and mixed proportional representation system

March 23, 2015, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 08 No.- 18 March. 20 - 2015 (chaitra 6, 2071)

Big disputes and differences exist between ruling and opposition parties with respect to the federalism and restructuring of states. Unified CPN (Maoist) led alliance is not willing to compromise on their stand of single caste and different nationality based provinces. They propose to provide greater state power authority to minority caste and ethnic group (30%) while ignoring rights and interests of majority of the communities (70%) within the same province. Nepali Congress (NC) and NCP (UML) led alliance is not prepared to accept single caste and different nationality based provinces. They fear that they will create wide spread differences, social disharmony and long lasting conflict among the communities and might weaken the sovereignty and integrity of the country in the context of the fragile geo-political situation of the country. Nepal can no longer withstand the next revolution and frequent strikes that might shatter country's economy and make public life miserable. Since constitution is a long lasting document to decide well-being of all citizens, the political parties should not make any haste to develop the constitution by shortening the process.

Efforts Made Till Now: Differences and Consensus

The political parties do not have much differences and disputes on judiciary such as formation of constitutional court and electoral system of election such as inclusive and mixed proportional representation system. However, Unified CPN (Maoist) led alliance is not willing to accept the two third majority decision through voting in settling the disputed issues of the constitution following democratic process and norms..The NC and NCP (UML) led front wants to see that the forthcoming constitution should guarantee equal identity and rights to all citizens in a province without any discrimination and disparity These differences have led to increased polarization among the negotiating parties and deadlock in the talks and dialogue towards achieving consensus. Some of the effective and widely accepted ways that will assist in settling the disputed issues of the constitution are suggested below.

Ideal Criteria for the Formation of States/Provinces

States/provinces should be formed based on proportional representation of all ethnic groups with special reservation and development programs for the disadvantaged and suppressed groups.. People want their identity in the place of their birth and not far away. Formation and naming of a province based on single caste and ethnicity as well as different nationality is not feasible. However, there should not be any limitation to the number of states/provinces while recognizing the identity and rights of the major castes and ethnicity and restriction on hills-Terai integration and economic exchange. The political parties should in no case be the captives of external interference as it is purely the job of Nepali people to develop their own constitution for the well-being and .economic prosperity of the people. The best way to achieve consensus on the disputed issues of constitution will be to provide equal rights and identities to major castes and ethnic groups in a province by naming the provinces jointly based on famous rivers/places and at least 3 major castes/ethnic groups as follows.

(a). Bagmati Pradesh composed of Newa, Tamsaling and Khas Statehoo

(b). Koshi Pradesh composed of Limbuwan, Khumbuwan, Sherpa, Kochila and Khas Statehood

(c). Gandaki Pradesh  composed of Tamu, Magrat and Khas Statehood

(d). Lumbini Pradesh composed of Tharuhat, Abadha, Madhesh and Khas Statehood  

(e). Karnali Pradesh  composed of Khas, Bhotias, Tribal (Mugal etc) Statehood

(f). Sudur Passchhim Pradesh  composed of Khas,Tharuhat and Madhesh Statehood

 (g). Madhesh Pradesh composed of Mithila, Bhojpura, Abadha and Pahadi Statehood

System of Repeated and Frequent Referendums

Referendums provide final verdict of the people and are widely accepted means in resolving disputed issues in a country with multi-cultural society. They will be equally effective to resolve disputed issues of the constitution in Nepal having diverse ethnicities. Nepal should take lesson from the Swiss Constitution which has accepted referendums as its unique and characteristic feature to resolve any disputes between parties and diverse provinces (26 in all).

Proportional and Inclusive Representation System

Proportional and inclusive representation system of electoral method for electing political representatives and allocation of seats, reservation and quota to the disadvantaged communities is the most appropriate means of resolving disputes and issues in a multicultural society with diverse ethnicities like Nepal. It takes special care of interests and voice of the suppressed and disadvantaged communities, minorities and groups like indigenous people, ethnicities, women, Dalits, Muslims and Madheshi people. Proportional representation of major ethnic groups can also be the criteria in the formation of provinces/states.

Discussing Various Alternatives and Options on Disputed Issues

The continued deadlock in achieving consensus among major political parties would not have existed had there been adequate discussion on varieties of alternatives and options on disputed issues. The political parties did not display any flexibility by floating various alternatives and options on disputed issues during repeated discussions and meetings but all the time took the same ironic stand without any progress.  Some of the alternatives and options that can be adopted by negotiating parties in achieving desired consensus on disputed issues are suggested as follows.

1). Drafting the Constitution incorporating the agreed points while postponing the disputed issues of federalism to be discussed later on during remaining period of CA.

2). Drafting the Constitution of Nepal at the moment by giving authority to the would-be elected Provincial Council for naming of the provinces and demarcation of their boundaries.

3)..Adopting mixed proportional and inclusive representation system of election/electoral system and reservations 

4). Forming a constitutional court for a period of 10 years without interfering the supremacy of judiciary.

5). Forming states/provinces and naming them jointly based on famous rivers/places and at least three major castes/ethnic groups

  6). Decisions made through majority consensus of political parties and independent voting (66-70%) without influence of party whips.

7), Forming a Committee of Experts to secure recommendations on the disputed issues particularly on the federal and state issues

8). Settling disputed issues through repeated referendums.

9). Promulgating the constitution of Nepal by incorporating the agreed matters in the Interim Constitution while providing ample room for setting disputed issues later

10). Declaring another general election to secure fresh and new verdict of the people for settling the disputed issues.

 

The major political parties will be required to give full guarantee in accepting and respecting the decisions thus made through consensus and democratic process in settling the disputed of constitution..

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