Nepal votes to amend new Constitution

The amendment aims at resolving the ongoing agitation by the Madhesi parties. 

Kathmandu: Nepal's parliament on Saturday voted to amend the country's Constitution with a two-thirds majority four months after its promulgation, in a bid to resolve a political dispute with the minority Madhesi community.

The amendment aims at resolving the ongoing agitation by the Madhesi parties. The lawmakers of the agitating parties, however, boycotted the voting this evening, saying the purported amendment was incomplete and would not address their demands.

"I announce that the Nepal constitution first amendment bill has been passed with a two-thirds majority in favour," said speaker Onsari Gharti Magar as lawmakers thumped their desks in agreement.

Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, are opposed to the new Constitution that divides the country into six federal provinces, claiming the federal structure incorporated in the new charter does not satisfy their demands.

Madhesis, who share strong cultural and family bonds with Indians, demand demarcation of provinces, fixing of electoral constituencies on the basis of population and proportional representation.

Fifty-five people have been killed in the four-month protest by Madhesis.