Kathmandu: Nepal on Thursday extended by five days a fresh deadline to draft the country's new constitution, much delayed due to lack of consensus among political parties over contentious issues.
Constituent Assembly (CA) Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang extended the deadline of the Questionnaire Committee through majority voting process in an attempt to allow opposition lawmakers to take part in the constitution drafting process.
The announcement came after the committee failed to meet the second deadline yesterday and sought five more days to accomplish its tasks.
New term of the panel mandated to prepare questionnaires on disputed constitutional issues to put to vote will expire on February 10, The Himalayan Times reported.
Nembang put off the CA meeting for February 12.
The extension came amid protests and sloganeering by lawmakers of the opposition Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal.
The questionnaire committee was formed despite protests by the opposition alliance led by UCPN-Maoist last month at the initiative of the ruling party alliance with a view to resolve the disputed issues of the constitution to take forward the process of drafting the statute.
The ruling and opposition alliances are sharply divided on key issues of the Constitution drafting including federal structure and forms of governance.
As the political parties failed to deliver a constitution on the first deadline of January 22, Nembang started the process of drafting the constitution through majority votes.
Opposition party lawmakers stormed the well of parliament late on January 22 to prevent the ruling coalition from pushing ahead with a vote to salvage the draft of a charter marred by political rivalries.
The proposal for formation of the committee was tabled by CA senior member Kul Bahadur Gurung belonging to the ruling Nepali Congress party.
The UCPN (Maoist)-led 19-party bloc had decided not to attend the CA meeting following the formation of the committee by Nembang two weeks ago.
They boycotted today's CA meet as well.
Meanwhile, the CPN-UML chairman KP Shrama Oli urged the UCPN (Maoist) to join the constitution drafting process.
Addressing a group of pro-leftist journalists here today, Oli said the second CA would issue a new constitution at any cost though it might sound unpleasant to those who were against promulgating it.
He said that the ruling party alliances were flexible for dialogue to forge consensus.