Amid souring relations between the ruling and opposition parties over the ongoing constitution-drafting process, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has appealed to the agitating alliance led by the UCPN (Maoist) to come forward for talks to jointly bring the new statute.
Prime Minister Koirala made the appeal for meaningful talks without further delay to forge the requisite consensus and understanding among the partners of the peace process.
“Let us start meaningful talks without further delay to forge necessary consensus and understanding and actively engage in the constitution-drafting process so that we the partners of the peace process and democratic movement can promulgate the new statute together, keeping in view our responsibility towards nation and people,” the prime minister said in an appeal on Sunday.
The prime minister urged the opposition parties, including the Maoists and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), to initiate talks and reach consensus starting from the point they had reached on January 19 regarding the various contentious issues of the new statute. “Let´s engage ourselves actively in driving the country on the path of political stability and prosperity, ending the political transition through early promulgation of the constitution of federal republic Nepal,” the prime minister said.
Koirala´s appeal comes in the wake of the opposition parties launching a series of protests against what they say is the attempt of the ruling parties to promulgate a new statute on the basis of a majority in the Constituent Assembly (CA). They have demanded that the new statue be promulgated through a consensus-based approach. The opposition parties have been boycotting all CA meetings after the ruling parties on January 25 pushed for a majoritarian course. The opposition earlier vowed not to hold any talks with the ruling parties until the ongoing majoritarian process was withdrawn. Prime Minister Koirala has said that the demand of the Nepali people since 1951 to be ruled under a constitution drafted by their own representatives has remained unfulfilled and that inordinate delay in concluding the political transition has jeopardized the benefits that the people can reap through economic prosperity.
“We should, therefore, not cause any further delay in the ongoing constitution-drafting process,” he said. Although the opposition alliance leaders have remarked in public that the prime minister´s appeal fails to address their demand for talks, Minister for Law and Justice Narahari Acharya said they have yet to receive a formal reaction from the alliance. “First we need to sit for talks. Only then can anything that is unclear or abstract become clear. We can start talks from the point where we had parted ways,” said Acharya, referring to the remarks of the opposition leaders.
Acharya also said that although the prime minister´s statement may not specifically address all the demands of the opposition parties, the appeal to conclude the peace process and constitution-drafting together broadly addresses them all. “We are not supposed to be halting the ongoing process of constitution-drafting in the CA. This is neither necessary now, nor can the process be halted just because anyone asks for it,” the minister further said.