The first meeting of Nepal’s newly-elected Constituent Assembly convened on Wednesday with leaders from various political parties pledging to draw up the Constitution within a year.
“We will draft the Constitution within a year,” said Sushil Koirala, president of the Nepali Congress which has emerged as the single largest party in the 601-member Constituent Assembly (CA). He spoke to reporters after the CA meet ended.
Jhala Nath Khanal, Chairman of the CPN-UML, said that since the parties would move ahead by adopting the agreements reached in the previous CA, the new constitution would be drafted within a year.
The meeting which had been delayed due to confusion over who should convene the first meeting – the President or the Chairman of the Council of Ministers – took place two months after election was held on November 19. The first CA, elected initially for two years, failed to deliver the constitution despite four extensions totalling two additional years.
The former prime minister, Surya Bahadur Thapa, 86, the senior-most member of the assembly, chaired the meeting.
While welcoming the new members, Mr. Thapa urged them to work together to draft the constitution.
The meeting was held without the 26 members who are to be nominated by the government. The nomination would be made by the new Cabinet.
Efforts to form the new government have been impacted with the failure of the Nepali Congress the CPN-UML to reach agreement over power-sharing and the fate of the President and the Vice-President. Meanwhile, the representatives of the parties that had boycotted the election staged a demonstration.
The next meeting will be held on Jan. 29.