Nepal to vote on Constitution, opposition calls for protests
Nepal's Constituent Assembly Chairman on Sunday took a step towards voting on the Constitution setting aside opposition demands of consensus for framing the document, even as the Maoists-led alliance vowed fresh protests against the move, deepening the political turmoil.
Kathmandu: Nepal's Constituent Assembly Chairman on Sunday took a step towards voting on the Constitution setting aside opposition demands of consensus for framing the document, even as the Maoists-led alliance vowed fresh protests against the move, deepening the political turmoil.
Despite repeated disruptions and opposition from the 19-party UCPN-Maoists-led alliance, Constituent Assembly Chairman Nembang announced the formation of the 'Questionnaire Committee' to resolve the contentious issues of Constitution drafting after parties failed to sort out their differences.
The committee, backed by the governing parties' overwhelming majority, would proceed with voting on the Constitution. The opposition parties are demanding the draft of the Constitution be prepared by consensus.
"Our alliances' meeting has passed a resolution condemning the move," Laxman Lal Karna, Vice-chairman of the opposition Sadbhawana Party, said after the meeting.
The alliance, which includes the Joint Madhesi Front, said it would not take part in the 49-member committee.
Lawmakers from the opposition parties chanted slogans when Nembang read out the names of the members. Nembang had to take the step after opposition lawmakers barred Nepali Congress chief whip Chin Kaji Shrestha from proposing the committee.
The committee will hold its first meeting within five days and it will have to submit its report within the next five days of beginning work.
"We will launch protests in the street against the formation of the questionnaire committee despite our reservation," said Karna.
"We took exception of the steps taken by the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, who was supposed to play a neutral role he pointed out. We will not send our representatives to the body as it was formed without taking our consent," he said.
"We will also not sit for dialogue with the government and the ruling parties unless they withdraw the decision. The ruling parties will not get any type of help from our side in drafting the constitution," he warned.
The alliance has also directed their respective political parties to launch protest programmes at district headquarters throughout the country to oppose the move.
Nepal has been facing a constitutional crisis for the last six years after the first Constituent Assembly was dissolved without promulgating the Constitution in 2012.
Opposition parties have been demanding ethnic identity- based federal structure in the Constitution which was supposed to be promulgated last week but the deadline could not be met.
Nepali Congress and CPN-UML command more than two-thirds majority in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.