Monday, February 12, 2007

PM issues directives for constitution amendment within this week

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Monday issued directives to Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Bikram Nembang to amend the Interim Constitution and present it before the Council of Ministers by the end of this week.

PM’s directives today come in the wake of the meeting between himself and CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal in which both had agreed to immediately pass the necessary laws through parliament in the run-up to the elections to a constituent assembly slated for mid-June.

Likewise, the two leaders also agreed to call a meeting of the eight parties to iron out the remaining differences between the eight parties on the modalities of the elections including the contentious issue like reconfiguration of electoral constitution, election procedure, number of ballot papers, and vote counting process among others.

Earlier Prime Minister Koirala had a meeting with UML General Secretary Madhav Nepal to discuss the issues regarding CA elections as the Election Commission had repeatedly made requests to the government and parties to formulate election laws, Constituent Assembly Election Court to address crime and punishment during the election within the third week of February.

In an interaction programme with top leaders of all political parties representing the Interim Legislature-Parliament yesterday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Bhoj Raj Pokharel had said that the government and political parties should make a political decision to adopt possible electoral system, use of ballot paper, formulate necessary laws related to elections and immediately announce the dates for the elections to make it happen. The CEC also warned that the commission alone cannot hold elections by the given deadline of mid-June if the parties don’t reach a consensus to provide necessary support to the commission.

However, yesterday’s interaction programme at the commission’s office was not attended by the prime minister.

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