Nepal Today

Monday, July 22, 2013


Kathmandu, 23 July:- As the task of constituency delineation stumbles over constitutional hurdles, members of the cross-party taskforce formed to assist the Constituency Delimitation Commission (CDC) differ over the option of increasing constituencies by removing the constitutional difficulties, Pranab Kharel writes in The Kathmandu Post..
Leaders of Madhes-centric parties argue that it is necessary to address the constitutional contradiction. But those from the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML argue that it would be against the spirit of the constitution. They say that the best option is to retain the existing 240 constituencies as they are.
Article 63 (3A) of the Interim Constitution calls for increasing constituencies in proportion to the population rise in all the three geographical regions. But Article 154 (8) prohibits reducing seats from those allotted to a district when the total number of constituencies was 205.
“We believe increasing constituencies by removing constitutional difficulties will help address the spirit of the constitution, which is to increase constituencies in line with the population growth,” said Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party leader Hridayesh Tripathy, who is a member of the taskforce. He argued that as per the constitution, the existing provision needs to be amended if the existing 240 constituencies are to be retained.
Nepali Congress representative in the taskforce Ram Sharan Mahat, however, argues that the best option would be to keep the existing 240 constituencies for the scheduled elections. “If we talk of increasing constituencies by removing constitutional difficulties, then all the 240 constituencies will have to be worked on. This will defer the polls from the November 19 date,” said Mahat.
Echoing Mahat, UML leader Agni Kharel said not much change should be made to the constituencies. “ Constitutional ly, only 35 constituencies that were added to the then 205 can be re-worked on. This proposition of increasing the constituencies by amending the constitution doesn't hold any ground,” he said.
The Maoists have taken a 'safe' position on the matter. According to UCPN (Maoist) representative in the taskforce Khim Lal Devkota, solutions should be sought within the constitutional framework. “But if any extra-constitutional steps are to be taken they should not affect the announced election,” said Devkota.
Parties are said to be deliberating three options. The first is increasing the number of constituencies by removing the hurdles; the second is retaining the existing 240 constituencies; and the third is delimiting all the 240 constituencies.
The Committee has already informed the top leadership that their work was hindered due to the constitutional ambiguity.


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