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Now or never

Saturday, April 28th, 2012
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Talks between the three major parties and Madhesi front have taken a decisive turn. The discussions are now polarised with the Maoists and Madhesi parties demanding a directly elected president, and the NC and CPN-UML favouring an executive prime minister.

On federalism, both sides have agreed on identity and capability as the basis for state restructuring, but while the NC and UML want capability and economic viability to be the main priorities, Maoists and the Madhesi front want ethnic, cultural and regional identities to take precedence.

The top leaders have been meeting everyday for the past week and in today’s meeting the parties discussed two proposals forwarded by the NC and Maoists on state restructuring. The Nepali Congress has proposed a seven state model with two southern states, but the Madhesi front has already rejected NC’s proposal and called it a ploy to divide Madhes. The Maoists, on the hand, have proposed 10 states with Chitwan as the federal capital. This is a fresh departure from the 14 state model which the Maoists endorsed earlier.

However, NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel explains, “Although the Maoists have proposed a 10 state model, they are still adamant about 14 ethnic states.” NC and UML leaders are blaming the Maoist leaders for backtracking on the ‘agreement’ made in Hattiban last week where they claim the Maoists had agreed on seven to eight states based on capacity and not ethnicity.

The parties are still in the meeting and efforts are being made to forge a consensus by changing the State Restructuring Committee’s 10 state proposal. The Madhesi front says it is willing to accept the SRC’s report as long as other parties come on board.

If the parties do not reach an agreement by today, the unresolved issues will be tabled for voting in the next meeting of the CA.

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