Overcoming years of differences between the main political parties, Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, that took up the task of fast-track voting, on Wednesday approved the new national Constitution in three days as Chairman Subhash Nembang declared the statute and its preamble adopted by a two-third majority.
Nembang asked Assembly members to be present at 5 pm on Sunday in attire that will reflect “your culture”. The process brings to an end the uncertainty and doubts over the nation’s Constitution following a series missed datelines.
The charter was passed by a 507-25 vote in the 601-seat Assembly.
However, half-a-dozen Madhesh-centric parties and some indigenous groups that were “excluded” from the process announced that they would be observing Sunday as a “black day”, and that they would not accept the new Constitution.
The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists, a splinter group of the main opposition Maoist Party, has given bandh call on September 20, the day scheduled for promulgation.
Indicating that what has been done is commendable, but not enough, the international community reacted to the development with a mix of encouragement and warning. Aware of these reservations, Nepal Foreign Minister Mahendra Pande Wednesday invited all the ambassadors and heads of the missions in the country telling them not to have any reservation on the Constitution that was adopted by 92 per cent of the members present.
Once the Constitution comes into force, Nepal would be a federal state with a three-tier administrative system. The Constitution will split Nepal into seven federal provinces. Some ethnic groups disagree with the makeup, borders and size of the provinces.
Nepal has had an interim constitution since pro-democracy protests forced then-King Gyanendra to give up his authoritarian rule and turn the country into a republic.
with agency inputs