It´s been over six months since the Constituent Assembly (CA) election and over five months since the CA´s first meeting was convened. But the government has still not been able to give full shape to the 601-seat CA.
It´s been 13 days since the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the government to nominate the remaining 26 CA members. The apex court on May 12 had said the CA would be incomplete without the nomination of the remaining members and that it would raise questions over the legitimacy of CA´s actions and decisions.
Leaders privy to the development said the government is yet to begin serious homework for nominating the remaining CA members. “The government and leaders from major political parties haven´t even begun talks on this matter,” CA Chairman Subas Nembang told Republica.
Of the total 601 members in the CA, 240 are elected directly, 335 are nominated under the proportional representation quota while the remaining 26 should be nominated by the government.
Leaders argued that as the constitution entrusted the government with picking the 26 lawmakers, it is the prime minister´s responsibility to take initiatives to forge understanding among political parties and give full shape to CA.
CA Chairman Subas Nembang
The government has drawn widespread criticism for failure to appoint lawmakers for the remaining CA seats.
While the SC´s deadline is fast approaching, leaders said the government is unlikely to meet the deadline because the prime minister is scheduled to leave for India visit on Monday.
Asked about the delay, Minister for Information and Communication Minendra Rijal said it took time as it required consensus among political parties.
“We are working toward forging political consensus on this matter and our efforts are aimed at accomplishing the task within the deadline given by the Supreme Court,” Rijal told Republica.
CA Chairman Nembang is one of the leaders who fervently lobbied for giving full shape to the CA even before convening its first meeting on January 22.
“I repeatedly suggested to the top leaders to allow the election government to appoint the 26 CA members so that the assembly would get its full shape before its first meeting,” said Nembang. He argued that he lobbied for not to keeping the seats vacant as historic decisions taken by previous CA´s first meeting were challenged by a section of the society arguing that the House was incomplete.
“I tried my best to convince top leaders not to repeat the same mistake in the new CA but to no avail,” he said.
Some leaders from major parties conceded that top leaders are deferring the issue owing to immense pressure from within and outside their respective parties for including some individuals on the list. “While the seats are limited, the list of aspirants and recommended candidates is too long,” said a leader requesting anonymity.
CPN-UML Spokesman Pradeep Gyawali said the government´s indecision with regard to these appointments was inappropriate.
According to him, there has been no serious homework among the major parties to fill the vacant seats. “The major parties had earlier allocated nine seats for NC, eight for UML, four for UCPN (Maoist) and remaining seats for other fringe parties. But there has been no progress in this regard since,” said Gyawali.
CPN-UML often takes such decisions in its standing committee meeting. But, according to leaders, recent meetings of the party´s top body didn´t discuss the issue.