KATHMANDU, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Although the Constituent Assembly (CA) has finally convened, Nepal's political parties are still faced with a lot of hurdles before the formal constitution drafting process starts.
The CA, a constitution drafting body, first convened on Jan. 22 but the formal process of drafting a constitution has yet to begin. The primary task of political parties is to prepare the rules of procedures of the new CA, but this has not been done yet.
The second meeting of CA, which is scheduled to take place on Jan. 29, is likely to form a cross-party committee that would finalize the rules of procedures.
"The CA rules of procedures will have to specify that a new constitution should be promulgated within a year thus the drafting process should be fast-tracked," Tek Prasad Dhungana, a government official closely involved in the constitution drafting process of former CA, said at a public program this week.
The election of chairman and vice chairman is another challenging job for a party that needs to be settled as soon as possible to open avenues for the constitution drafting process. The UCPN (Maoist) has staked the claim of CA chairman saying that it is not concerned with government formation process.
The issue of leadership of CA is linked with larger power sharing deal which the parties have not started to discuss yet. The second and third largest parties have already demanded the fresh election of the president.
The parliamentary session of CA, which will formally start from Jan. 26, will vote for the position of president and prime minister.
Similarly, parties are still undecided on how to go about the actual constitution drafting process. Parties in principle have agreed to take some ideas or principles that evolved during the CA saying that promulgating a constitution within a year is not possible if the process would start from the scratch again.
Political leaders are saying that it is very difficult to distinguish the agreed and contentious issues related to constitution in the dissolved CA. "If we begin the process from scratch it would not be possible to promulgate a new constitution within a one-year time-frame," CPN-UML leader Rabindra Adhikari told the media on Wednesday at the premises of the CA building.
Nepali Congress and CPN-UML leaders also shared the same commitment to draft a new constitution within a year. "If parties fail to draft a new constitution within a year, it would backfire on the political parties," said Dhungana.
Parties failed to draft a new constitution despite the hard work between 2008 and 2012 due to the differences over the forms of governance and the issue of federalism. These two issues still remain contentious among the political parties.
On how to resolve the issues is still a big question mark in Nepal's brand of democratic governance.