CA meet deferred for ‘accord’s sake’

KATHMANDU, APR 20: The meeting of the Constituent Assembly has been postponed until Thursday to provide time for the parties to settle the contentious issues of the new constitution on the basis of consensus.

The session on Sunday passed a condolence motion on the demise of CA member and former prime minister Surya Bahadur Thapa.

The parties have said there is some progress towards settling the disputed issues in consensus. Both the ruling and opposition parties are claiming that they are close to an agreement on federalism, the most debatable issue.

Thapa was the senior-most member of the Constituent Assembly who administrated the oath of office to the incumbent lawmakers. The earlier meeting was postponed after passing a condolence motion on the death of CPN-UML leader Ram Nath Dhakal.

Two meetings earlier were also adjourned by a week to “create an atmosphere for consensus”. The CA, which has prepared a questionnaire on the disputed issues, has not proceeded with the voting process yet in order to encourage the parties to settle them through broader consensus.

CA Chairman Subas Nembang has been extending the deadline of consensus since February 12. In the nine weeks since then, parties have little to show in agreement.

The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML are planning for what they call “decisive” talks with the opposition parties. Ruling party leaders say they will push for voting in the CA if there is no deal by the next meeting of the CA.

Nembang has been urging party leaders to agree either on the agendas or the CA process to sort them.