Nepal par­ties sign break­through deal on new con­sti­tu­tion

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Nepal’s ri­val par­ties have signed an agree­ment draw­ing up the coun­try’s in­ter­nal borders in a break­through that paves the way for a new na­tional con­sti­tu­tion, the coun­try’s prime min­is­ter said Sun­day.

Spurred by April’s dev­as­tat­ing quake, Nepal’s par­ties struck a his­toric deal in June to di­vide the coun­try into eight prov­inces but left the cru­cial task of de­lin­eat­ing state borders to a fed­eral com­mis­sion.

The new agree­ment, signed af­ter mid­night Satur­day, came af­ter days of ne­go­ti­a­tion and re­solves a ma­jor is­sue that has blocked progress on the char­ter since 2008. As a re­sult, the com­mis­sion will no longer be re­quired to set state bound­aries.

“A con­sti­tu­tion with fed­eral- ism and de­mar­ca­tion has been en­sured,” Prime Min­is­ter Sushil Koirala wrote in a post on Twit­ter.

“I call on ev­ery­one to not be stuck on mi­nor dis­agree­ments and work to build and de­velop the coun­try,” Koirala said.

In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter Mi­nen­dra Ri­jal told AFP that “the agree­ment was reached last night and it has moved the con­sti­tu­tion writ­ing process a step for­ward.”

The deal comes af­ter a se­ries of public con­sul­ta­tions held across the Hi­malayan na­tion last month.

In some cases, the con­sul­ta­tions were marred by vi­o­lence, es­pe­cially in the south­ern plains, which are home to the Mad­hesi com­mu­nity, who ex­pressed anger about a lack of de­tail on where and how new borders will be drawn.

“We have tried to un­der­stand the public stance and strike a bal­ance on con­flict­ing feed­back re­sponses,” Ri­jal said.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties have long pushed for new prov­inces to be cre­ated along lines that could fa­vor his­tor­i­cally marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties like the Mad­he­sis. Other par­ties have at­tacked this model, call­ing it a threat to na­tional unity.

As a re­sult of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, the num­ber of prov­inces was re­duced to six and, un­der the new agree­ment, ev­ery province in the land­locked coun­try will share a bor­der with re­gional power In­dia, al­lay­ing con­cerns about in­di­vid­ual states’ ac­cess to mar­kets.

The

deal

also

in­ter­nal

changes

a con­tro­ver­sial pro­vi­sion that re­quired both par­ents to be Nepali in or­der for their child to get cit­i­zen­ship, spark­ing out­rage among rights’ ac­tivists who said the leg­is­la­tion would dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect sin­gle moth­ers.

The agree­ment now al­lows par­ents to pass on cit­i­zen­ship to their chil­dren if ei­ther the mother or fa­ther is Nepali.

Law­mak­ers be­gan work on a new na­tional con­sti­tu­tion in 2008 fol­low­ing a decade- long Maoist in­sur­gency that left an es­ti­mated 16,000 peo­ple dead and brought down the monar­chy.

But bick­er­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties were un­able to reach agree­ment and the re­sult­ing un­cer­tainty left Nepal — one of the world’s poor­est coun­tries — in a state of po­lit­i­cal limbo.

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