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Lunch and Learn- "New Federal Constitution by Nepal"

Photo: (R-L) Hon. Surendra Pandey, former Finance Minister of Nepal, Member of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal and Political Bureau Member of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), Rupak Chattopadhyay, President Forum of Federations, Dr. Surya P.S. Dhungel, Advisor to the President of Nepal on Constitutional and Legal Affairs

(R-L) Hon. Surendra Pandey, former Finance Minister of Nepal, Member of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal and Political Bureau Member of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), Rupak Chattopadhyay, President Forum of Federations, Dr. Surya P.S. Dhungel, Advisor to the President of Nepal on Constitutional and Legal Affairs

The Forum of Federations organized a “Lunch and Learn” session on March 29, 2012 at the Forum office in Ottawa to discuss and assess the progress made in relation to the adoption of a new federal constitution by Nepal.

Presentations on the topic were made by Hon. Surendra Pandey, former Finance Minister of Nepal, Member of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal and Political Bureau Member of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), and by Dr. Surya P.S. Dhungel, Advisor to the President of Nepal on Constitutional and Legal Affairs. The audience was informed that, at present, Nepal is being governed under the Interim Constitution of 2007 which had mandated the Constituent Assembly to give to the citizens of Nepal the new constitution by May 2010.



Hon. Surendra Pandey, former Finance Minister of Nepal, Member of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal and Political Bureau Member of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN)


However, because of disagreements among the political parties, the original deadline had to be extended a few times, with the final deadline being set for May 2012.

It was pointed out that the delays and challenges faced by the Nepali leaders was the outcome of three major simultaneous structural transformations that the country was undergoing, namely, the transition from centralization to decentralization, feudalism to modernity, and authoritarianism to democracy. Apart from these larger dynamics, the fact that the constitution making process is linked to the peace process means that until the vexed issue of the disarmament and reintegration of the Maoists is not resolved, a consensus on the constitution will prove to be elusive and contentious. It was also underlined that the lack of trust among the political parties was undermining the move towards adopting a new constitution. A manifestation of this, for instance, was the inability of the different political parties to agree on the number of sub-national units that Nepal is going to have. All the above mentioned challenges necessitated greater commitment on the part of Nepal’s leaders. On a more positive note, the speakers acknowledged the very useful role that the international community was playing in helping Nepal transition to a truly federal democratic polity but underlined that ultimately it depended on Nepal’s peoples as to what sort of a constitution they wanted. The Forum’s role was especially appreciated and the speakers expressed the hope that the Forum would keep playing the very useful role it has been playing in Nepal’s quest for a better governance system.

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