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Nepal: Draft Constitutions Presented

(Apr. 6, 2009) Several of Nepal's political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly have written concept papers on the new constitution and presented them to the Constitutional Committee. The papers are essentially draft constitutions and represent different ideas for how the country should be governed.

The paper presented by the major opposition party, the Nepali Congress, envisions a multi-party democracy, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. It stresses the supremacy of the constitution, separation of powers, government by popular representatives, and basic human rights, including press freedom. There would be a bicameral legislature, with a prime minister to exercise executive power, at the center of the government and unicameral bodies in the provinces and towns. In addition, a president would be elected indirectly, through electoral colleges, to serve as the ceremonial head of state, to protect the constitution, and to head the army, which would be a professional force. An independent judiciary would constitute a third branch of the government. (Four Parties Submit Their Concept Papers at CC, EKANTIPUR.COM, Mar. 31, 2009, available at

The head of the Nepali Congress, Girija Prasad Koirala, when presenting his party's ideas, stated, “[w]e should be careful while adopting federalism as there is always the possibility of the country disintegrating. Therefore, national integration should be the main basis of federalism.” He added that provincial borders should be drawn with fair distribution of natural resources in mind. (NC Presents Draft at Constitutional Committee, Says National Integration Should Be “Main Basis” for Federalism, NEPALNEWS.COM, Mar. 31, 2009, available at

The heads of two other political parties, the Rastriya Prajatanta (RPP) and the Communist Party of Nepal, Marxist-Leninist (CPN-ML), also released concept papers, proposing multi-party, parliamentary democracies led by a prime minister, with a ceremonial president. The RPP proposal involves selecting the prime minister by the Westminster system (based on the British model, with the head of the largest party in the legislature as the prime minister), while the CPN-ML favors holding a direct election for that position. Other political parties have opposed creating a secular state or have supported keeping a monarchy. (EKANTIPUR, supra.)