Con­sti­tu­tional Cri­sis in Nepal

Southasia - - BRIEFING -

Nepal is fac­ing a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis since 2008 which is ham­per­ing its trans­for­ma­tion to democ­racy. Al­though an in­terim govern­ment is in place, the coun­try is still fac­ing un­cer­tainty over the for­mu­la­tion of the Con­stituent Assem­bly. Lack of proper rep­re­sen­ta­tion is de­lay­ing the pass­ing of laws nec­es­sary to vote for the new assem­bly. This po­lit­i­cal cri­sis comes a year af­ter the dis­so­lu­tion of the pre­vi­ous assem­bly as the party lead­ers have failed to agree upon a fed­eral model.

Nepalese politi­cians fear that the new assem­bly will be more re­gres­sive, less inclusive, and more anti-fed­eral. This raises con­cerns for a sta­ble Nepal fol­low­ing years of in­de­ci­sive­ness on the part of party lead­ers to write a con­sti­tu­tion.

If po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion is a se­ri­ous is­sue, then women politi­cians are also de­mand­ing ap­pro­pri­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the new assem­bly. Nepalese women politi­cians have called to dis­card the elec­tion process and launch a strug­gle move­ment if the par­ties re­duce women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion be­low 33 per­cent. This will raise an­other cri­sis in Nepal which will take its toll on the coun­try’s path to democ­racy.

More­over, the size of the new assem­bly is also un­der de­bate as 601 mem­bers in the pre­vi­ous Con­stitu- ent Assem­bly was a bur­den on the coun­try’s bud­get. This time, how­ever, politi­cians have drafted a law that calls for re­duc­ing the num­ber of mem­bers to 491.

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