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Not quite there

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
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A meeting of the Constitutional Committee Tuesday decided to give five more days to the Dispute Resolution Sub-committee to resolve the disputed issues of constitution drafting at the request of political parties. Continuing the engagement, the leaders have begun another marathon meeting at Singha Durbar on Wednesday.
The committee had set April 17 deadline for political parties to finalise the contentious issues of constitution drafting and had agreed to go through voting in the committee sessions on April 18 and 19 if consensus could not be forged. But the two-day talks between the top brass leaders major political parties held in Hattiban failed to forge consensus as the leaders refused to budge from their stance, instead the leaders asked the committee for more time to forge consensus.
There are five major issues holding up the negotiation: federalism, forms of governance, judicial system, electoral system and citizenship. The leaders claim the meeting has narrowed down the contentious issues but say they need five days to cement the deal. Informally, the leaders have been talking of agreeing on six to eight federal units, a mixed model of forms of governance, a mixed electoral system and no gender-based discrimination on naturalised citizenship.
The constitution drafting process has gained momentum after the major works of the peace process progressed, with parties agreeing on regrouping and integration of former Maoist combatants into Nepal Army last week. During the ongoing regrouping, the number of combatants seeking voluntary retirement has crossed 6,000 and little over 3500 have opted for integration. The regrouping in Kailali cantonment is yet to complete.
Meanwhile, PM Baburam Bhattarai has met President Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday morning to brief later about the progress in the statute drafting. The meeting comes amid Priesident’s ‘controversial’ statement that he would not sign a constitution if it threatened national integrity.
Dewan Rai

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