06/10/2015, 00.00
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Nepal’s ruling majority and opposition agree on eight provinces in a federal state

by Christopher Sharma
After four years of deadlock, Nepal’s main parties agree on a 16-point plan and a commission to finalise a secular constitution by the end of June. As the country’s election law and form of government are set to change, Nepal becomes a parliamentary system with a prime minister as the head of the government and a ceremonial president as head of state. For political analyst, it is a miracle “caused by the earthquake”.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepal’s four main political parties, those on government benches as well as those in the opposition, reached a 16-point agreement last night to reorganise the country into eight provinces and rewrite the election law.

After four years, the deal paves the way for the adoption of a new secular constitution. The Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik signed the agreement.

The aim is to settle the main issues that have prevented the adoption of a new constitution. In practice, political parties agreed to a commission charged with demarcating the eight federal provinces. Their names will be decided at a later date.

The Constituent Assembly has until the end of June to present its draft proposal to Nepalis. After public consultations, it should be quickly adopted.

The lower house will have 275 members, 60 per cent elected directly, and 40 per cent elected by proportional representation.

The upper house will have 45 members, all elected by proportional representation

A constitutional court will be set up for 10 years to resolve disputes.

Nepal’s parliamentary system will have a prime minister as the head of the government and a president elected by Parliament.

For many Nepali papers, the deal is a “turning point” in Nepal’s chaotic political history.

According to Prof Lokraj Baral, a political analyst, "it seems that the disaster caused by the earthquake has pushed political leaders to stop quarrelling and get on with the country's future.”

“The agreement,” he added, “is a source of new hope for Nepal. Now the constitution comes next.”

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