Political rivals agree on new constitution in Nepal

Rival parties in Nepal reach consensus on new constitution and country’s division into eight provinces

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Nepal’s political parties reached historic agreement on Monday night which led to the draft of a new constitution after a years long deadlock, according to a minister.

Four rival parties, including the ruling Nepali Congress and main opposition Maoist party, pushed to sign the agreement which calls for the division of the Himalayan country into eight federal states after a major earthquake hit the country in April and left thousands of people dead .

Nepal Information Minister Minendra Rijal said “the natural disaster had motivated us to work together," adding "There is a will to get this done."

The breakthrough agreement says the political parties will establish a federal commission to draw up the internal borders of the eight federal states in six months and submit a proposal for approval in parliament.

According to the agreement, an executive prime minister and a ceremonial president will govern the country as usual without any alteration.  

Efforts to reach a consensus on a new constitution had been interrupted many times since the country’s Maoist insurgency overturned Nepal’s monarch in 2008.

“The constitutional deadlock has now ended,” said Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the Maoist party’s vice chairman, adding that, “We will now focus on rebuilding.”

Earlier this year, Nepal’s Governing parties tried to discuss the creation of a new constitution in the assembly. However, these discussions ended with violent protests inside of the assembly, with opposition parties breaking chairs and desks and throwing microphones at each other.

A 7.8  magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, killed about 8,700 people and damaged several historic sites. It was followed by 7.3 quake which killed more than 100 people in the Himalayan region of the country.

TRTWorld and agencies