Overwhelming majority endorses new constitution
[myrpublica.com] KATHMANDU, Sept 17: Finally, the Constituent Assembly has done it. An overwhelming majority of the CA endorsed the Constitution of Nepal-2015 through the four-day-long rigorous voting process.
In a vote division conducted on Wednesday evening, 507 CA members voted in favor of the new constitution while 25 members voted against it. Those voting against the bill were members of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-N).
“Total 507 members have voted in favor of the proposal to approve the revised constitution bill while 25 members have voted against the proposal,” CA Chairman Subas Nembang announced at the meeting. “Thus, this meeting has endorsed the new constitution with over two-thirds majority votes of this CA.”
As he made the announcement, all the lawmakers kept on clapping and thumping on the tables and started congratulating each other at the hall.
Of the total 598 CA members, 532 were present at the meeting.
As some of the Madhes-based political parties have boycotted the CA procedures for the last few weeks, 57 members from these groups didn’t attend the meeting that approved the national charter.
Also, eight lawmakers from the major political parties that are in the constitution making process didn’t appear at the historic sitting. CA Chairman Subas Nembang doesn’t participate in vote.
Earlier, all the 308 articles, nine annexes and preamble were endorsed through voice vote. Most of them were endorsed by two-thirds majority of the CA full House while some were approved unanimously.
After this, all the lawmakers will sign on it and CA Chairman Subas Nembang will authorize the document and finally President Ram Baran Yadav will unveil the new constitution amidst a special ceremony on Sunday.
The meeting formed a five-member committee headed by Baburam Bhattarai, head of the CA’s Constitutional Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (CPDCC) to arrange the new constitution document based on the latest amendments. NC’s Krishna Sitaula, UML’s Agni Kharel, UCPN (Maoist)’s Giriraj Mani Pokharel and RPP-N’s Kunti Shahi are members of the committee.
The CA started clause-wise voting since Sunday and completed it Wednesday evening.
Though the revised constitution bill contained 302 articles, it was later increased to 308 as some articles were inserted as major political parties added four separate commissions – on Madhesi, Tharu, Muslim and indigenous communities — and made some other changes.
With this, the over seven-year-long arduous task of constitution making has been successfully completed. As the constitution making project was also the major part of the peace process, the latest progress has taken the process toward conclusion.
The first CA, which was elected in 2008, worked for four years but was dissolved in May 2012 without promulgating constitution as major political forces disputed over some of the major contentious issues such as federalism, system of governance, judiciary and citizenship provisions, among others and couldn’t reach any political agreement.
Then, the political parties formed an election government headed by the erstwhile Chief Justice Khilaraj Regmi and conducted elections for second CA in November 2013.
After the election, the first meeting of the second CA was held on January 22, 2014. At the time, the major parties had promised to deliver constitution within a year.