Ruling parties assure RJPN of amendment by mid-July

Published On: July 8, 2017 01:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 8: The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center) have assured Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) of amending the constitution by mid-July to address the demands of the agitating party. 

After RJPN threatened to boycott the September 18 local polls if the government failed to address its grievances, including amendment of the constitution, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and leaders of the ruling parties invited the agitating party leaders for talks on Friday. 

RJPN leaders reached  the official residence of the prime minister for  talks, a week after threatening to withdraw support from the Deuba-led government, Prime Minister Deuba had said in  parliament  last month that the  amendment bill would be endorsed immediately after the June 28 local polls. 

"The meeting ended positively. The prime minister has assured RJPN of endorsing the under-discussion constitution amendment bill within a week or by mid-July," said NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi. 

The aamendment bill had been put on hold after the government failed to garner a two-thirds majority in its favor. The former government led by Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had registered the bill in a bid to address the demands of Madhes-based political parties, including RJPN. 

The government has proposed forming a federal commission to suggest provincial boundaries and removing the chairpersons and vice chairpersons of rural municipalities and mayors and deputy mayors of  municipalities from the electoral college for the National Assembly, proposing to include only members of provincial assemblies. The bill was registered in  parliament on April 11. 

"The prime minister and ruling party leaders have assured endorsement of the constitution amendment bill and increase in the number of local units at the earliest. Let's see how the government moves ahead," said RJPN leader Rajendra Mahato. 

According to Mahato,  RJPN leaders have demanded  endorsement of the  amendment bill, increase in the number of local units in the southern plains, withdrawal of  cases filed against their party cadres, and compensation for those injured during the Madhes movement.  

According to the leaders, Prime Minister Deuba and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal requested RJPN leaders to take part in the September 18 local polls in  Province 2.

In response, RJPN leaders said  only  constitutional amendment and increase in the local units in  Province 2 would open the way for their taking part in the election. 

CPN (Maoist Center) leader Matrika Yadav said that the ruling parties will also talk to the main opposition CPN-UML for its support in endorsing the amendment bill. Constitutional amendment is almost impossible without support from the second largest party in  parliament. 

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