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Finally federalism

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Editorial in Kantipur, 10 August

Map of federal Nepal

Unless something unprecedented happens, the country is sure to have a new constitution in a few days. This will mark the end of the peace process during which we came through a ceasefire, the demobilisation and disarmament of fighters. Certainly, the current draft has some problems. Let’s hope the door to resolve them will be kept open. Still, it is a great achievement that we are soon going to have a Federal Democratic Constitution after ten years of waiting. This announcement alone will restore Nepal’s national morale. It will also prove wrong who said that the CA would never write the constitution, federalism isn’t possible, or that demarcation was not feasible. The challenge is to implement the new federal structure, and the constitution will be judged on how that is done.

The draft reflects the suggestions made by the public during consultations and feedback. There have been changes in the provisions for citizenship. Women and Dalits have been given more rights. Local officials will now be directly elected. However, even though the draft guarantees ‘complete press freedom’ it still gives rulers undemocratic loopholes to muzzle the press.

It is encouraging that the parties could push through with a federal structure with fewer provinces. There will be differences about boundaries. But agreeing on this model will open up a debate about devolution and these will have to be addressed as we move along. It is impossible to have a constitution that everyone agrees on 100 per cent. Even some leaders of the four main parties who are behind this draft are not happy with some of the provisions. But they looked at the national interest and compromised on each other’s positions. It is the responsibility of the top leaders to address some of the more vociferous opposition to the current draft. The biggest weakness of this process so far is that the Forum Nepal and TMLP are not part of it. But the fact that there is a province that is east-west and located in the plains is itself an achievement. That is more than can be said for the Tharus. As a last resort future disputes can be resolved thorough future elections because the constitution can be amended as long as there is that mandate. No group now should push itself out of the national mainstream.

Read also:

Federalism deal signed

Map of federal Nepal

Bordering on brinkmanship Editorial


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2 Responses to “Finally federalism”

  1. sushil kumar on Says:

    Federalism is now adopted ,well and good.
    Be careful about the wordings. Read carefully the proceeding of the making of the Constitution of India, which is a classic documentation.,and in particular the prophetic speeches of DR. Ambedkar.He did it deliberately.

    He deliberately put the word UNION ,instead of the word Federation .
    No where there is the word Federation in the Indian Constitution, although it is a federation.
    The Federation was not the result of an agreement by the States to join in a Federation and that the Federation not being the result of an agreement no State has the right to secede from it. It is indestructible. They learnt the lesson from America, where they had to fight a Civil War to attain it.

  2. David Seddon on Says:

    it should always have been about the practice of government not the theory of the constitution – and the outlook is NOT GOOD

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