Nepal approves new constitution
On 16 September, Nepal’s Constituent Assembly passed the new constitution – after many years of delay due to disagreements between political parties. It was approved by 507-25 votes in the 601 seat assembly while some smaller opposition parties boycotted the vote. Protests over federal makeup continue in southern parts of the country.
International IDEA welcomes the result of the vote and congratulates Nepal’s Constituent Assembly. Internatiional IDEA also urges government to bring all disaffected groups to the table, and do it upmost to prevent further violence. The constitution, which will replace the Interim Constitution of 2007, institutionalizes Nepal as a secular, federal republic with parliamentary system and multiparty democracy. Longstanding desire for gender equality in conveying citizenship was not yet achieved.
International IDEA has been accompanying the process since the 2006 Peace Agreement and will continue to offer its support to the critical stage of implementing the new constitution, and so further consolidation democratization process in Nepal.
In August International IDEA, together with UN-Women and UNDP, set up a website in both Nepali and English to facilitate public consultations of the draft constitution. The website was set up in two days and provided a cost efficient way for Nepalese citizens to provide feedback.