Two years of constitution promulgation: Progress in implementation along with elections

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PRAKASH SILWAL , KATHMANDU, Sept 18: As the promulgation and enforcement of new constitution of Nepal reaches the second year, the beginning of the end of political transition has set in motion in the country.

With the completion of two rounds of local level elections in six provinces and another round being held in province no 2 today, the announcements of dates for the election to the House of Representatives and State Assemblies, it is evident that the country is gradually inching towards the agenda of economic prosperity.

Some dissenting Madhesh-centric political parties had been demanding amendment in the new national charter concerning the delineation of federal provinces but to their dismay, the constitution amendment proposal failed to garner two-third majority in the Legislature-Parliament.

Yet, the Madhesh-centric parties are also contesting in the third round of local level election as the ruling parties have pledged to float the amendment proposal over again.

The Constitution of Nepal, 2015, which embraces federalism as one of the salient features, also envisages socialism besides eternal peace, prosperity and development.

The new constitution was promulgated on Asoj 3, 2072 BS through the second Constituent Assembly (CA) after the first failed to do so. Then President Dr Ram Baran Yadav promulgated the national statute from the CA building at New Baneshwor in Kathmandu.

The constitution’s further success will depend on the policies and plans that the governments at all levels bring after the elections are over for ending all forms of discrimination and exploitations brought about by the feudalistic, autocratic, centralized and unitary state of the past.

Although the three main political parties – the Nepali Congress, the CPN (UML) and the CPN (Maoist Centre) – which were on the same page on bringing the constitution, formed various sorts of coalition governments in the meantime, they have come to the same place now when it comes to implementing the constitution and holding the elections.

Nepali Congress leader Nabindra Raj Joshi said, “The different phases of constitution implementation are being fulfilled at the political plane. The country would get stability after the election of the Federal and State parliaments are held in December 2017. These developments have raised hopes and trust in the country and outside towards the constitution.”

Asked whether the constitution would be amended after the election, lawmaker Joshi said the constitution amendment would take place gradually on the basis of its necessity. He added that mainly the holding of the three phases of elections has ensured the implementation of the constitution.

CPN (UML) secretary Yogesh Bhattarai said the participation of the Madhes-centric parties, which had been that they would not accept the constitution, in the election should be considered the success of this constitution and a vindication of the agenda that his party had been raising.

“In a democracy, the state and the political parties should concentrate on serving the people by taking mandate from them through election. Elections taking place has raised hopes among the people,” he said.

CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi said, “We were successful in promulgating the constitution amidst doubts of it at all being issued. The local level election have taken place in all provinces. This is like the morning showing the day. The rest of the elections will also take place smoothly now.” He added that the country will now march forward towards the path of development and economic prosperity.

As per the constitution, the election to the local level, the province assembly and the federal parliament will have to be done within January 21, 2018. In the meantime, the state restructuring commission and the electoral constituency delimitation commission have presented their reports to the government. These reports have already been implemented.

Similarly, the task of drafting laws compatible with the federalism has started and so has the process for forming a new constitutional council been started.