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Constitution first, federalism later

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
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CPN-UML has directed its party’s CA members to ask for a State Restructuring Commission in the CA, indicating that the new constitution may be written before the finalising the details of federalism. The Himalyan Times writes:

“Restructuring the state is a very complex issue,” [UML president Jhal Nath] Khanal said, “We can also suggest leaving this issue to the elected federal government that will be formed under the new constitution. The elected government can form a high-level commission to decide on it if we now fail to reach consensus,” Khanal told the CA members.

The CA is scheduled to debate on the concept paper of the State Restructuring and Distribution of State Power (SRDSP) committee from tomorrow. Last week, it recommended formation of 14 federal units on ethnic and community basis.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Koirala is expected to seek clarification from Deputy PM Sujata Koirala over her remarks blaming him of trying to capture state power. Nagarik writes:

On Saturday, Deputy PM Koirala said the coalition leader was after state power just like the Maoists, adding that Nepali Congress should lead the government if the coalition leader fails to change its ways.

The Maoist party has said it has no intention of shutting the Upper Karnali Hydropower project. Nagarik writes:

Indian company, GMR, is claiming that Maoists are obstruction operations at the project. Maoists have refuted its claims.

“There is no plan to shut down any projects,” a Maoist party member said. “But all projects have to respect the rights locals have to such natural resources and seek their permission.”

The Maoist party has also withheld the announcement of their next phase of protests pending the outcome of the High Level Political Mechanism’s meeting scheduled for Monday. It was expected to make an announcement on Sunday.

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