Nepal will adopt its first full democratic charter on Sunday, a historic step for a nation that has seen war, a palace massacre and devastating earthquakes since a campaign to create a modern state began more than 65 years ago.
President Ram Baran Yadav will formally promulgate the constitution intended to unite the country but it has already exacerbated divisions in some places with 40 people killed in protests against it in recent weeks.
Nepal’s powerful neighbors, India and China, are keen to see stability and to limit each other’s influence in the poor Himalayan country sandwiched between them.
“The constitution that will be promulgated is the outcome of many years of struggle by the Nepali people,” Prateek Pradhan, media adviser to the prime minister, told Reuters.
“It addresses the aspirations and demands of all sections of Nepali society in an inclusive and representative manner. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala is extremely happy to have reached this moment.”
The earthquakes that killed more than 9,000 people this year galvanized politicians, who had squabbled for seven years to finish the charter.
It creates seven states in a secular, federal system, but is opposed by some groups who wanted to re-establish Nepal as a Hindu nation, and others who feel it is unfavourable to people in the plains, near India.
Demonstrations in the lowlands in recent weeks were met with a tough response from Kathmandu, which ordered in the army after protesters attacked and killed police. More than 40 protesters and police died.
The unrest troubles India, which has called for dialogue.
China welcomed the new constitution saying that as a “friendly neighbour” it hoped for increased stability and growth.
The government says an imperfect document is better than nothing, and the constitution can be amended to reflect the aspirations of dissenting groups.
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe congratulates President Bhandari
KATHMANDU — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has offered congratulations to President Bidya Devi Bhandari on her re-assumption of office as the head-of-nation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
In his message, Prime Minister Abe said that he looks forward to actively cooperating with President Bhandari to further strengthen the long-standing friendly relation between Japan and Nepal.
He also said that Japan welcomes the solid progress Nepal is making in strengthening democracy following the elections to the Federal Parliament and Provincial Assemblies under the new constitution.
He assured that Japan would continue to strongly support Nepal’s efforts to consolidate democracy and to ‘build back better’ from the disastrous outcomes of the earthquake.Follow @gorkhapost