Nepal on Tuesday said it would unveil its long-awaited new Constitution on September 20, despite the ongoing deadly protests by minority groups over the proposed federal structure.
The Constituent Assembly (CA) has already began clause-by- clause voting on the proposed Constitution, under preparation since 2008, since Sunday and as of now 37 articles have already been endorsed by the 601-member-strong body.
Fully democratic statute
A fully democratic Constitution will be promulgated by the Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav at a special function here attended by all the heads of diplomatic missions, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said on Tuesday.
“Nepal President will promulgate the new Constitution of the Federal, Democratic, Republic of Nepal, endorsed by the CA that would institutionalise the achievements of the Peoples Movement of 2006,” he said.
The CA unanimously approved the proposal on fixing the date for the promulgation of the Revised Bill of the Constitution of Nepal, on September 20, Mr. Pandey added.
After violent protests
The announcement follows Monday night’s violent protests after the CA overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to revert Nepal as a Hindu state, amid an already volatile situation over federal structure.
India and the U.S. have urged Nepal on Monday to ensure broad-based support and timely promulgation of the new Constitution. They also asked the country’s security forces to use restraint in responding to protests.
“The Constitution should have the broadest possible support and the outcome should honour fundamental rights such as gender equality and basic freedoms,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
‘India is concerned’
Minister for External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj said: “India is concerned over the ongoing protests and strife in Nepal. We urge continuing flexibility on the part of all the political forces so that any outstanding issues are addressed through dialogue, in an atmosphere free from violence.”
Violent protests in Nepal’s southern plains led by the Madhesi parties protesting the seven province federal model have claimed nearly 40 lives including 11 police officers.
Nepal was declared a secular state in 2006 after the end of a decade-long civil war between Maoist insurgents and the state that claimed nearly 16,000 lives.
A CA was elected in 2008 after the abolishment of the Himalayan country’s 240-year-old Hindu monarchy, but it could not finish its task despite four extensions.
Subsequently, a second CA was elected in 2013 which deliberated the draft Constitution for over two years.
Drafting expedited post-quake
The drafting process was accelerated after the deadly-quake of April 12 that claimed more than 9,000 lives in the country of 28 million people.