Home Contact Us  

South Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4780, 15 December 2014

Himalayan Frontier

Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?
Pramod Jaiswal
SAARC Doctorate Fellow, Centre for South Asian Studies, JNU

With just a few weeks left to meet the 22 January, 2015 deadline for the promulgation of the constitution, the President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, is busy asking the lawmakers to fulfill their commitments.
Contentious Issues
The current Constituent Assembly (CA) that was elected in November 2013 has already taken the ownership of the progress made by the previous CA – which streamlined the tasks of writing a new constitution.  Despite that, Nepalese political leaders made little effort to resolve the contentious issues of the constitution-making. They need to resolve four key contentious issues including federalism, forms of governance, electoral system and judiciary. Due to lack of intensive discussion among the political parties, they have failed to make any substantial progress.

Federalism remains one of the thorny issues major parties are sharply divided on. Among the crucial questions are the numbers of federal provinces, demarcation of boundaries, and names of the federal units. The future of the constitution also depends on how the political parties handle the issue of federalism. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-Maoists) advocate for decentralised governance of 10 to 14 provinces based on ethnicity while the Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) call for centralised governance of a maximum seven provinces. The UCPN-Maoists and the Madhes-based parties are demanding more provinces in the hilly regions and less in the Madhes.

The UCPN-Maoist has proposed for a presidential form of government and envisage the directly-elected president as both the head of state and head of government while the NC proposed a reformed parliamentary form of government where the president is the head of the state and the prime minister is the executive chief. Vis-à-vis the electoral system, the UCPN-Maoists proposed a multiple-member, proportional, direct electoral system based on proportional inclusion, to be determined on the basis of the population, geography and socio-economic factors while the NC and CPN-UML proposed a mixed system, with half the members of parliament elected directly on First Past the Post (FPTP) voting and half elected proportionally (similar to the system applied in the CA elections). Regarding judiciary, the NC and the CPN-UML call for a supreme court while UCPN-Maoists demand a constitutional court.

Additionally, the parties of the ruling coalition, namely the NC and the CPN-UML, prefer all decisions to be taken in the plenary of the CA by majority vote while the oppositions (UCPN-Maoists and Madhes-based parties) prefers the consensus approach. 

Polarisation among the Political Parties
Presently, the UCPN-Maoist is building alliances both within and outside the CA to counter the dominant position of the ruling coalition (NC and CPN-UML). Outside the CA, the UCPN-M is reaching out to splinter Maoist groups while within the CA, it has formed an alliance with pro identity-based federalism parties – mainly the Madhes and ethnicity-based parties — called the Federal Republic Alliance (FRA). The signature campaign by Madhesi leaders of the NC against the federal model proposed by the NC and CPN-UML has also foiled the chances of imposing constitution by majority vote. 

Bleak Prospects
It seems unlikely that the newly-elected CA has learnt lessons from the past and would deliver a new constitution of Nepal within the stipulated timeframe. There has not been much change in the leadership of political parties and opportunities to discuss the numbers of provinces and identity issues, and the establishment of self-governance structures for smaller ethnic groups was missed. It is entirely possible that the same challenges that sunk the first CA will resurface.

In spite of all these challenges, one can hope that Nepal gets the constitution within the stipulated time. It is in the interest of all the political parties to fulfill their commitments. The NC can claim the successful promulgation of the constitution during their tenure while the CPN-UML should leave no stone unturned for timely constitution-making as they can claim to lead the next government. In February 2014, the NC and the CPN-UML signed a deal stating that former would hand over the leadership of the government to the latter in January 2015.

A failure to promulgate the constitution by January 22 might break the coalition between the two and destroy the CPN-UML’s chances to lead the government. It might open the possibility for new alliances to be created. The UCPN-Maoists and Madhes-based parties would also like to consolidate their gains as they are pretty assured that Nepal would not go for the third CA election.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Sushma Swaraj in Nepal: Reinvigorating Bilateral Relations?

Nepal Elections: Reading the Results

India-Nepal Relations: Mixed Fortunes

Seizing ‚ÄėThe Belt and Road‚Äô Opportunity: Challenges for Nepal

Local Elections in Nepal: Is the Second Phase Possible?

Forecast 2017: Nepal

Nepal: Local Body Elections Amid Uncertainty

FSI and Nepal

Contextualising KP Oliís India and China Visits

Significance of Prime Minister KP Oli's New Delhi Visit

Forecast 2016: Nepal

Nepalís Constitutional Questions and Madhesi Aspirations

Madhesi Demands in Nepal: Is there an End in Sight?

Nepalís New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?

Nepal: Political Rivalries Stymieing Constitution-making

IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015

The Future of SAARC is Now

China in Nepal: Increasing Connectivity Via Railways

India-Nepal Hydroelectricity Deal: Making it Count

Federalism and Nepal: Internal Differences

Modi and Nepal-India Relations

Nepal: Challenges to Constitution-Making

Nepal's Restful Prime Minister

Chinese Inroads to Nepal

Constituent Assembly-II: Rifts Emerging

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February  March
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.