KATHMANDU: The High-level Political Committee ( HLPC ), the cross-party taskforce of major political parties formed to assist the Chief Justice led Election Government has finally signed a six-point deal with Upendra Yadav-led Federal Democratic Front (FDF) on Thursday night increasing the chances of holding the elections of the Constituent Assembly (CA) as scheduled on November 19.
As per the agreement, the number of the CA would be 585 where there will be 240 under the direct election while 335 under the proportional one and 10 to be elected from the Council of Ministers. For the implementation of this agreement, the President and Nepal government will be requested for constitutional and legal arrangements.
Earlier, the four major political parties- UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) had decided to reduce the number of CA members from 601 to 491. And the Election Commission (EC) had started electoral process accordingly.
Both the sides agreed to forge consensus on the basic principles of the new constitution, while also agreeing to request the Election Commission to extend the voter registration period by one more week. The EC has decided to reopen the process for a week beginning Saturday.
The front had presented a 13-point charter of demands to the HLPC. They included resignation of the Chairman of the Interim Election Government, Khil Raj Regmi, as the Chief Justice, amending the 25-point agreement and increasing seats under the proportional category.
“We decided to request the Election Commission to extend the voter registration period in such a way that it will not affect the poll schedule,” Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh KC told reporters after the meeting.
According to leaders involved in the cross-party talks, the Yadav-led front will participate in the elections and play an active role in making it a success. The front comprising eight political parties will help conduct free and fair elections, according to the agreement signed by the two sides.
UCPN-Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha signed in the agreement from the HLPC’s side while Parshuram Tamang on behalf of federal democratic front. The six-point agreement, the leaders said, would be a milestone for the success of the CA elections.
The talks were attended by HLPC coordinator and UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML’s Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, UDMF coordinator Bijay Kumar Gachhadar and Chairman of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal, Upendra Yadav and others.
MJF-N leaders said the alliance was ready to trade off the demands for Regmi’s resignation and increasing the number of constituencies with an increase in the number of PR seats. The HLPC is scheduled to hold talks with the Ashok Rai-led Federal Socialist Party-Nepal today.
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