New rift over CA term extension in Nepal surfaces

Last Updated: Thu, May 24, 2012 07:30 hrs

-ANI): Despite an agreement among ruling parties to raise a bill to extend the Constituent Assembly (CA) term by another three months, dissidence surfaced again immediately after the bill was submitted at the Secretariat of the Legislature-Parliament on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached among the major ruling parties-Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).

The CPN-UML standing committee meeting has demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai immediately citing dissatisfaction over the bill to the extend the CA term and NC lawmakers Radheshyam Adhikari resigned from CA expressing dissent over the government's move.

Their demand is that the constitution should be promulgated on the given deadline of May 27 without further extension which was decided earlier this month as per an agreement made between the political parties.

The agreement earlier this month also highlighted that a new consensus government would be formed after which the cabinet was dissolved and a new cabinet under the leadership of UCPN-M was formed.

The agreement mainly focused on narrowing the differences among the major political parties over contentious issues relating to the drafting of the constitution.

Talking to reporters after the meeting of the council of ministers which decided to propose a CA extension, Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that the cabinet decision was to avoid any legal and technical difficulties to promulgate constitution even when there was consensus among the parties over the disputed issues of the new constitution.

Meanwhile, the CPN-UML has announced more parleys with other political parties in regard to the issue and pressurize the prime minister to resign.

The Supreme Court (SC) has not yet to make a verdict over the extension bill and the SC in November last year ruled out extension for CA term beyond the May 27 deadline.

The Interim Constitution Article 64 specifies that the Constitution Assembly's (CA's) term is for two years. It can be extended for a period of six months only, should there be an emergency situation in the country. It cannot be extended indefinitely, as mentioned in the verdict of the SC.

Similarly, On Aug. 28 last year, the SC had annulled the writ petition against the CA extension by three months due to the doctrine of necessity of the constitution.

The CA term has already been extended for four times in the past after its formation in 2008.

Many political observers have viewed the extension as another attack on the sentiment of the public who have long been waiting for a constitution that will help in making the nation progressive towards development and end the rising crisis in the nation.

Nepali political senario has become more complicated and inconclusive, given the Herculean task for constitution promulgation with only three days left before the deadline and the questions that whether the prime minister will resign and whether the nation can afford the resignation of the prime minister. (Xinhua-ANI)

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