KATHMANDU, May 25: Party leaders and officials closely involved in constitution writing have said drastic amendments and suspension of provisions in the Constituent Assembly (CA) regulations have become a must to complete the constitution writing through fast-track procedures within the next three days.
They said a new constitution is simply not possible before the CA term expires on May 27 if the existing regulations are adhered to.
The officials and leaders said that the leadership of the major political forces should be able to reach agreement on the fundamental political issues that will determine the major features of the new constitution by first resolving the remaining thorny issues.
"In the changed context, massive changes in the existing CA regulations are required. The provisions should be either suspended or amended to make the constitution possible," lawyer-turned lawmaker Agni Kharel, who is closely involved in the statute drafting process, told Republica. "Otherwise, the new constitution can´t see the light of day on Sunday."
Kharel said the leaders first need to resolve the remaining major disputes, such as system of governance and federalism, at the dispute resolution subcommittee under the CA´s Constitutional Committee (CC).
Also, some other lawmakers familiar with CA procedures and the remaining tasks argued that the entire body of regulations should be suspended and the CA chairman mandated to decide the remaining procedures.
Key leaders of major political parties, including the prime minister, the CA chairman and the deputy CA chair are members of subcommittee, which is headed by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal.
"The subcommittee head should hand over the draft directly to the CA chairman," Kharel said. "Then, the CA chairman will table the constitution bill for voting in the full CA." As per the constitutional provisions, the new constitution bill is required to be endorsed by two-thirds of the Assembly.
Kharel said the new constitution bill should be put to a vote in its entirety and at one go whereas the existing constitutional provision requires every article to be voted on separately one by one.
Nilambar Acharya, chairman of the CC, said following the Supreme Court verdict the political leadership needed to come together and start working immediately on a war-footing. "The task can´t be carried out if the major political forces stand divided," he said.
He argued that the political forces, leaders and CA members should realize that they should work for a constitution permitted by the present circumstances, not an ideal constitution.
Make maximum use of three days: Nembang
CA Chairman Subas Nembang said that following the apex court´s verdict, the CA and the political leadership have only one option left, that of completing the constitution by making maximum use of the remaining three days.
"We need to try our best to frame the new constitution by settling a maximum number of issues as far as possible within the remaining days and we can entrust the legislature-parliament, that will remain in existence, with the responsibility of settling some remaining issues if any," said Nembang, after he was informed about the verdict. As per the Interim Constitution, the CA comes to an end once the new constitution is promulgated but its role as legislature-parliament will remain in effect until a new parliament is elected.
Officials at the CA secretariat informed that the CA chairman is pressing the top leaders to take immediate initiatives to settle the unresolved disputes and fast-track the procedures involved. Officials said he is also for completing the task on time by suspending or amending the CA regulations.