Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepal’s political parties have agreed on dividing the country into six new provinces (or federal states), each subdivided into a number of districts. The deal was reached Saturday evening and ratified on Sunday.
Redistricting has been the necessary condition for continuing the process of constitutional reform based on the draft presented last month.
The country’s main political parties – Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum-Loktantrik – accepted the deal.
Although the latter two signed, they expressed some reservations over some of its articles, but decided to endorse it in order to continue the reform process.
Boundary demarcation faced the challenge of ensuring that each province had access to international borders and trade with India and China. Under the agreed divisions, all six new provinces will have direct access to India, whilst only four will share a border with China.
Up to now, Nepal had been divided into 5 regions, 14 administrative zones and 75 districts. Hereafter, new provinces will be established in lieu of the old regions, each with its own mountain, hill and valley regions. Provincial parliaments will choose their respective names.
In addition to the country’s new territorial division, parliament unanimously approved the principle that grant Nepali citizenship to anyone who has a Nepali parent. Until now, the law required that both parents be Nepali.
Lawmakers also decided that Nepal’s president and vice president would represent all Nepalis to make the state more inclusive.