Nepal’s four-year-long exercise of writing a new Constitution finally ended in fiasco as the Constituent Assembly (CA) failed to meet the May 27 deadline and a divided cabinet decided to hold fresh elections to the Constituent Assembly on November 22.
The House stood dissolved at midnight. Top leaders of four major political parties met several times in the day in presence of the Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai,but they were divided on many crucial issues,including the basis of defining federalism whether to have single identity-based provinces or to go for multi-ethnic provinces.
Bhattarai,who tried to have the House tenure extended by six months by declaring a state of emergency,backtracked following a warning from President Ram Baran Yadav,who asked the government to respect the Supreme Courts verdict which ruled that the House had to be dissolved after May 27.
At the end,Bhattarai summoned an emergency meeting of the cabinet where he proposed to hold fresh elections to the CA on November 22. Ministers from different political parties,including Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel,objected to the Prime Ministers proposal alleging that coalition partners were not consulted and staged a walk out. Bhattarai met the president around 11 pm to apprise him of the development. Highly placed sources said that constitutional experts advised President Yadav not let Bhattarai continue as the caretaker prime minister.
The president,sources said,was contemplating consulting other political parties and legal experts on issues such as whether he should be endorsing the election date suggested by the Bhattarai,who was in minority in the cabinet when he moved the resolution for a fresh election.
Bhattarai,for his part,said that he would continue as prime minister and all executive powers would be vested in the cabinet.
Meanwhile,protesters,who wanted the constitution delivered on Sunday,took to the streets in the capital,at times clashing with the police.