APR 12, 2012 KATHMANDU – The final moments of Nepal’s bloodiest civil war may come to a full end as former Maoist combatants are fully integrated to the national security forces, self retirement and gone back to the community submitting their weapons and camps to the National Army.
The decision of the Special Committee to bring the former Maoist combatants and their weapons under the command and control of the Nepal Army has paved way for the political parties to singularly focus on constitution writing process and forge consensus on disputed issues in that connection.
The leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties have claimed that they would promulgate the new constitution within the remaining 47 days.
“The Maoist party has taken a bold decision on integration and now the twin tasks of the peace process and constitution writing process will come to end before May 27,” said Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, speaking at a function in the capital.
The constitution writing process was stalled for the last few weeks as the main opposition parties–Nepali Congress and CPN-UML–took their joint stand against holding an inter-party discussion on unresolved issues of the constitution writing before the integration process.
“The recent decision on the army integration has cleared way to complete the new constitution on time. Now, we will focus our discussion on unresolved issues of the constitution,” said NC Chief Whip Laxman Ghimire.
Major political parties–UCPN (Maoist), NC, UML and the madhes-based fronts–are still firm on their respective stand, mainly regarding forms of federalism, governance and electoral system in the new constitution. However, the leaders now insist they have entered a new era and that the twin tasks of peace process and constitution writing will be completed on time.
“Peace process has taken a new turn following the four-point decision by the Special Committee. We will complete the remaining tasks of the integration and promulgate the new constitution,” said UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, talking to Rukum-based politicians, intellectual and women on telephone.
Leaders say they have tentatively agreed on mixed model of electoral system and sorted out the differences over state restructuring. Political parties, which have not come up with their final option on federalism, have made up their mind to federate the nation from six to eight provinces. “Parties have no options but to accept federalism in the country,” said a senior NC leader.
But all the parties are firm on the forms of governance. The Maoist party is adamant on the directly elected president, while the UML is advocating for directly elected prime minister as head of the government. The NC is still pressing the party leadership to take strong stand for the parliamentary system. “The idea to go for directly elected president or prime minister is against the spirit of inclusion. Nepali Congress is ready to accept a reformed parliamentary system but will not accept any authoritarian president elected through direct election,” added Ghimire.
However, a faction of NC leaders, frequently in touch with the Maoist party to take charge of the national consensus government, are persuading the party President Sushil Koirala to accept directly elected president. But Koirala has rejected their proposal.
Political parties are under pressure to complete their unfinished business within May 27–the final deadline for the promulgation of new constitution following Supreme Court’s order to put cap on CA term extension.