Monday, 24 December 2007

SPA agrees to declare country a federal democratic republic

Arjun Bhandari
• Maoists to rejoin the interim government• NWPP writes note of dissent:
The seven-party alliance today decided to declare the country a “federal democratic republic state” and increase the strength of the constituent assembly to 601 from the existing 497, according to a 23-point political package deal signed by leaders of the alliance. The deal also agreed to hold the constituent assembly election within mid-April. The Maoists will rejoin the interim government.After a protracted meeting held at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Baluwatar, the leaders agreed to make an amendment to clauses 1, 2, 3, 3 (a) and 3 (c) of Article 159 of the interim constitution.The agreement states that “Nepal shall be a federal democratic republic state; first meeting of the CA shall implement the republic. But a two-third majority of existing members of the interim parliament can implement the republic even earlier if the king creates obstacle in holding the CA polls.”The agreement states that no executive power of the country shall be vested in the king; Prime Minister shall exercise all executive power and the PM shall act as head of the stateuntil the implementation of the republic.The alliance has also decided to hold the CA polls on mixed-election system under which 240 seats shall be contested on the first-past-the-post basis, 335 seats on proportional basis and the council of ministers shall make appointments on 26 seats from among the indigenous, nationalities and marginalised groups, who cannot make their representation in the assembly through election.After the alliance parties inked the deal, the meeting of the council of ministers held at the PM’s residence decided to register a proposal at the parliament secretariat for the amendment of the interim constitution tomorrow. Necessary amendment shall also be made to fill the seats that were left vacant due to death, resignation or expulsion of MPs in the interim parliament.Following the deal, the Maoists shall return to the interim government.The deal has agreed to form a high-level body of the SPA to effectively run the government.The alliance agreed to form six commissions within a month of signing of this agreement. The commissions include Investigation Commission on the cases of disappearances, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Commission to Restructure the State, Study and Recommendation Commission for Scientific Land Reforms, Monitoring Committee for the effective implementation of the Peace Accord and other agreements and a High-Level Peace Commission.The agreement says that a mechanism shall be developed to run local bodies and a high-level body of the alliance shall take a final decision to this effect.The Maoists have agreed to return seized property to the rightful owners, stop extortion and kidnappings.The Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party was the only party to write a note of dissent today, though it signed the deal. It demanded that the country be declared a “socialist republic” and polls be held on MMPR basis, among other demands.

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