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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Nepal holds landmark meeting of constitution drafting body

Nepal holds landmark meeting of constitution drafting body

After two months of election, Nepal is holding first meeting of Constituent Assembly on Wednesday afternoon (CA), opening avenues for drafting the new constitution within a year.
The first meeting has been regarded as a landmark event of the Himalayan country because it has aroused the hope of a new constitution which is expected to end the political turmoil in the country.

Nepal's octogenarian lawmaker Surya Bahadur Thapa chairs the meeting until the election of CA chairman and vice-chairman. The meeting of CA was delayed as parties engaged in several disputes including the UCPN (Maoist)'s blame of vote-rigging in the Nov. 19 election.

On Tuesday, lawmakers took oath of office and secrecy.

The CA is expected to draft a new constitution within a year as committed by parties in their political documents. Surya Bahadur Thapa chaired the meeting of assembly in the absence of elected Chairman. The CA is likely to elect its chairman and vice-chairman soon.

Though the first meeting of CA is taking place, parties have not prepared a clear road map about drafting a new constitution.

Parties have agreed to take the ownership of the progress made by dissolved CA but they are yet to agree on the modality of taking the ownership. Nepal elected second CA on Nov. 19 after the CA elected in 2008 dissolved on May 27, 2012 without delivering a new constitution, causing constitutional and political crisis in the Himalayan country.

The first CA in 2008 abolished the 240-year long monarchy. Parties will have to write new constitution within a year to institutionalize these achievements.

With the beginning of new CA, parties have promised to deliver a new constitution within a year but they have challenges including forging agreement on federalism.