To hold another Constituent Assembly polls on June 21
Leaders of Nepal’s four major parties were on Wednesday close to signing an agreement to form government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to hold another Constituent Assembly elections on June 21.
According to Devendra Poudel, political adviser to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday night is to forward an ordinance to President Ram Baran Yadav to make necessary constitutional amendments to open the door for Mr. Regmi’s appointment.
Parties in Nepal have been, for more than a month now, negotiating on the peace process that go back to the end of the Maoist insurgency. The negotiations have also focused on stateless and disenfranchised citizenry.
After more than 12 hours of marathon talks, the leaders of the four major parties agreed that out of the former Maoist People’s Liberation Army soldiers who opted to join the national army, one will be made Colonel and two Lieutenant Colonels, according to sources. They also agreed on how to update the voter rolls for elections, and finalised an ordinance to create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to address wartime crimes.
Besides the UCPN (Maoist), other parties in negotiations are Nepali Congress (NC), Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front.
“The constitutional amendment will allow citizenship by descent to the children of those who have citizenship,” said Jeetendra Dev, a negotiator from the United Democratic Madhesi Front, one of the four major political stakeholders.
Mr. Dev was referring to the children of Nepalis who received their certificates just before the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, after a political settlement resulted in 2.6 million Nepalis receiving citizenship certificates. Many of them have been unable to claim citizenship by descent, raising the ire of the Madhes-based parties.
Related to citizenship, how to update the voter rolls emerged as one of the major barriers to an agreement.
The Madhesi parties have insisted that voting rights not be based solely on the Election Commission’s electronic voter IDs, which makes owning a citizenship certificate mandatory to be eligible to vote.
The Supreme Court has also endorsed the citizenship certificate requirement.
A large number of “missing” voters has made the issue complex.
The number of new IDs registered by the EC (10.1 million) falls significantly below the number of eligible voters in the last Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 (17.5 million).
The Madhesi parties claim that new voter rolls cannot exclude those already included in the 2008 elections.
The four-party talks focused on what documents could be substituted in lieu of the citizenship certificate.
Meanwhile, the breakaway Maoist party led by Mr. Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’, along with several other smaller parties, have already announced they will launch nationwide protests if the Chief Justice is appointed Prime Minister.