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Implementing federalism

Friday, April 8th, 2016
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Six months after the promulgation of a new constitution that institutionalized Nepal as a federal republic, the government on Friday formed a high-level committee to implement federalism.

The committee, chaired by Prime Minister KP Oli, has Defense Minister Bhim Rawal, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel, Home Minister Shakti Basnet, Law Minister Agni Kharel, General Administration Minister Rekha Sharma and Vice Chair of National Planning Commission Yubaraj Khatiwada as its members.

Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi is the member secretary of the committee, which will oversee Nepal’s transition to a federal setup from a unitary system.

After the success of the 2006 Democracy Movement, Parliament had abolished the 240-year-old monarchy and passed a resolution to turn Nepal into a federal democratic republic. But Nepal was institutionalised as a federal and secular republic only when an elected assembly of people endorsed a constitution in September 2015.

However, Madhesi parties have rejected the constitution, saying it will not ensure their proportional representation in Parliament and other state organs. They spearheaded an indefinite strike for six months and have threatened to revive it from mid April.

The Hindu royalist RPP-N voted against the constitution but joined the Oli government. The committee formed to implement federalism does not have any minister from the RPP-N, which is ideologically opposed to federalism and recently  renewed its vow to fight for restoration of the Hindu monarchy.

However, the RPP-N Chair Kamal Thapa is not happy for being excluded from the committee. Thapa, who is Foreign Affairs Minister in the Oli government, boycotted Friday’s cabinet meeting to protest his party’s exclusion.

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