May 29, 2010
Pushing the midnight deadline, the Nepali ruling parties voted in the 8th Amendment, allowing the current “law makers” to continue for another year as a caretaker government. Of the 585 votes cast, 580 were in favor of the bill.
There’s one snag. And it’s a big one. Two years ago it was decreed that the Constituent Assembly – also serving as Nepal’s parliament – would automatically be dissolved on May 28, 2010 if it failed to promulgate a new constitution. By midnight of May 29, the legislation had come nowhere near penning a new constitution. The CA resoundingly failed the very people – the people of Nepal – who had voted it into existence.
It is true that there was a clause that allowed for an extension, but that was only permissible if the government declared a state of emergency, which, in turn, would be justifiable only if there was war or natural calamity. There is plenty of calamity in Nepal, but not of the natural or military varieties.
So how can the extension be regarded as legitimate?
At this juncture, the 601 members of the Constituent Assembly are far more interested in holding onto their jobs than they are championing adherence to the law.
Here’s the eleventh-hour deal: The Maoists and Terai-centri Nepal Sadbhawana Party- Anandidevi (NSP-A) withdrew their objections after the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML agreed to include in the agreement that Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal would pave the way within the next five days for the formation of a national consensus government. As per the deal, the parties will unveil a timeline for completing the writing of the constitution and take the peace process to a logical conclusion. Once the agreement is reached, Prime Minister Nepal will present it before the Legislature-Parliament and then resign.