Nepal Monthly Update covering period of 1-31 January 2014
This report is issued by the UN RCO with inputs from its UN Field Coordination Offices and other partners and sources. The report covers January 2014. The next report will be issued the first week of March 2014.
The second Constituent Assembly (CA), elected in November, held its first meetings during January in both its capacity as a constitution drafting body and as the national parliament. Regarding constitution drafting, the top agenda items are designing rules and working procedures to expedite the completion of the process within a year and devising a means by which the drafting work of the first CA (lasting from 2008 until 2012) can be endorsed and “owned” by the second CA. All of the major parties have publicly committed to this programme, but discussions between the parties on specifics have not yet borne fruit. In contrast, the ‘pro-royalist’ Rastriya Prajatantric Party—Nepal (RPP-N), which now has 24 CA members and is currently the fourth largest party in the CA, has opposed “owning” past CA achievements.
Meanwhile, most political attention has been focused on the process of government formation. The Nepali Congress (NC), as the largest party, had hoped to form a consensus government so as to better promote consensual constitution drafting. However, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal—Maoist (UCPN-M) and several other parties have said they prefer to remain in opposition (though the UCPN-M nevertheless wishes to participate in consensual constitution drafting and to complete the charter within a year). Talks therefore have shifted towards forming a majority coalition based on the NC and Communist Party of Nepal—Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), the second largest party in the CA.
However, these negotiations have partly become stuck on the CPN-UML’s insistence that the new CA elect a new national president as part of the new power-sharing formula, replacing President Ram Baran Yadav (who is a former member of the NC)—the NC has opposed this. Final resolution of these negotiations is not yet clear, and is complicated by rivalries not only between but also within the parties concerned. Meanwhile, a number of Madhesh-based parties have responded to their setback in the November 2013 election by entering unification talks. The UCPN-M also concluded an extended central committee meeting to analyse its poor electoral performance and is embarking on internal organisational reforms.
Operational space Overall, there were no major operational space issues reported by Basic Operating Guidelines signatories during the month of January in any region.