Politicians break constitution deadlock in unstable Nepal

KATHMANDU Tue May 15, 2012 8:23pm IST

Nepalese lawmakers raise their hands agreeing to extend the term of parliament in Kathmandu May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/Files

Nepalese lawmakers raise their hands agreeing to extend the term of parliament in Kathmandu May 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar/Files

Related Topics

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal is set to finalise its new constitution by a May 27 deadline, political parties said on Tuesday, in a breakthrough that could help end instability dogging the volatile Himalayan republic dependent on aid and tourism.

But some analysts suggested that key issues, like the boundaries between newly-created states, would remain unsolved and could be a source of further upheaval.

Tucked between China and India, Nepal has remained gripped by political turmoil since the end of a conflict with Maoists in 2006 and the abolition of the monarchy two years later.

A constituent assembly dominated by the Maoists has missed several deadlines to prepare the majority-Hindu nation's first republican, federal constitution owing to differences between political parties over the creation of states and their names.

"We have reached a consensus on creating 11 states and their names will be decided by provincial assemblies to be elected later," said Ram Chandra Paudel, a leader of the Nepali Congress party, after a meeting with the Maoists and other parties.

"This means we will prepare the constitution in time. The constitution will take care of the aspirations of all nationalities."

Nepal, slightly larger than Greece in land area, has more than 100 ethnic groups and several are pressing for individual states to be named after them in the new constitution.

Some parties have so far refused to name the states along ethnic lines on grounds that it would raise tension.

The debate has already triggered violence - five people were killed in a blast this month in the southern town of Janakpur during a protest calling for a separate state.

Some analysts said the parties had only agreed on the number of states, leaving the tough job of determining boundaries to a federal panel to be set up later.

"It seems the problem has only been handed over to the future actors and is in no way resolved," said Yubaraj Ghimire, a political analyst.

Ghimire said an agreement to share power between the president and the prime minister in the new constitution could also create a power tussle.

Prolonged instability in Nepal, which sits on the sources of rivers that supply fresh water to millions in South Asia, could have regional implications as energy-hungry China and India jostle for influence.

Unsettled politics has sapped business confidence and disillusioned citizens enduring long daily power cuts, shortage of drinking water and fuel and growing lawlessness.

Tourism, which is recovering from the 10-year-old conflict and accounts for nearly four percent of gross domestic product, could also take a hit if political unrest persisted.

The economy grew 3.5 percent last year - the lowest for four years - and tens of thousands of frustrated young Nepalis leave the country every year to seek menial work in Korea, Malaysia and the Middle East.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Telangana Accident

TOP SHOWCASE

India Insight

India Insight

Markandey Katju: Ex-India Supreme Court judge stirs the pot.  Full Article 

Wipro Results

Wipro Results

Wipro sees strong sales growth, eyes Europe deals .  Full Article 

Iraq's New President

Iraq's New President

Iraq elects president as Ban urges unity to save nation.  Full Article 

No 'Fire' Here

No 'Fire' Here

Amazon's smartphone fails to kindle a "Fire" among reviewers.  Full Article 

Gaza Shelling

Gaza Shelling

At least 15 dead in Israeli shelling of Gaza school - Health Ministry.  Full Article 

No Result Yet

No Result Yet

Afghan vote recount moves at snail's pace, rival sides far apart.  Full Article 

Film Festival

Film Festival

Venice film festival to kick off with black comedy "Birdman".  Full Article 

Photographers' Blog

Photographers' Blog

Waiting to die in Varanasi.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage