Nepal to form political body to resolve federal demarcation issue

Kathmandu, Feb 12 (IANS) Nepal’s three major political parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front on Friday reached an agreement to set up a political mechanism to resolve the issue of federalism.

A meeting summoned by Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli at his official residence here in Baluwatar decided to resolve the issue of demarcation of provincial boundaries, Xinhua reported.

The issue has been behind the almost six-month-long unrest in the southern plains of the Himalayan nation which claimed the lives of more than 50 people, including police personnel.

“The task force made up of four parties is scheduled to resolve the issue through a separate political body prior to the prime minister’s India visit,” leaders said.

Prime Minister Oli is set to pay a six-day official visit to India commencing February 19.

The ethnic Madhes-based parties have been agitating for almost six months, citing reservations on the seven-province federal model in the country’s new Constitution that was adopted on September 20 last year.

The agitating parties late last week formally announced an end to the border-blockade they had resorted to as part of their protest, but they continue with other forms of protests across the country.

Earlier in January, Nepal’s parliament voted to amend the new Constitution to address the 11-point charter of demands raised by the Madhesi Front, an alliance of four regional parties.

Three articles of the Constitution — Article 42, Article 84 and Article 286 — were amended ensuring higher representation in government bodies on the basis of proportional inclusion of the Madhesis.

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