Nepal government tables constitutional amendment proposal in Parliament

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Kathmandu, Nov 29 (IANS) After a year’s hiatus and political standoff, the Nepal government on Tuesday tabled a constitutional amendment bill in the Legislative Parliament to address the demands and grievances of agitating Madhes-based political parties.

Before registering the proposal, a Cabinet meeting endorsed the four-point proposal regarding the addressing the row over federal boundaries, citizenship, language, inclusive representation of all marginalised communities in various state entities, including the Upper House on the basis of population ratio.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ajay Shankar Nayak registered the amendment proposal at the Parliament Secretariat on Tuesday evening.

Besides the main opposition Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist, the proposal was supported by most major political parties of Nepal.

This will be the second amendment, if endorsed by Parliament with two third majority. The first amendment was made on January 23, four months after the promulgation of the new Constitution.

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According to the Bill, the demarcation of provinces 4 and 5 will be changed by swapping some districts.

As per the Language Commission recommendations, new languages will be given the national language status and included in the Constitution’s schedule.

Likewise, any foreign woman married to a Nepalese citizen can obtain naturalised citizenship after she relinquished her citizenship of the country of her birth.

To make the Upper House more inclusive, the proposal seeks representation of one member each from Dalit (untouchable), woman and marginalised community categories and the remaining five to be elected on the basis of population of each province.

The composition of the Upper House is eight members from each of the proposed seven provinces.

“We are very much hopeful that the bill will be approved by Parliament to end the current political standoff soon, said Chakra Pani Khanal, Chief Political Adviser to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.

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