September 20 will go down in the history books as a day that firmly established Nepal as an inclusive federal democratic republic with secular characteristic as President Ram Baran Yadav put his signature on the Constitution of Nepal 2015, marking the commencement of the new statute amid a grand ceremony at the Constituent Assembly (CA) that had overwhelmingly endorsed it earlier on Wednesday.
“I hereby announce commencement of new constitution which was endorsed by CA and authenticated by Constituent Assembly Chair on September 20, 2015,” President Yadav said in his address to the CA and the nation as he signed five copies of the new constitution.
The President’s speech was interrupted by long sustained applause of the CA members, who were joined by thousands who that spontaneously gathered around the CA building. This was followed by a spectacular display of fireworks as thousands of spectators continue to cheer both from the streets and rooftops of the surrounding buildings.
“I congratulate and extend my best wishes to all Nepalis on this auspicious occasion of the commencement of the new constitution,” said President Yadav. “A long struggle and aspirations of people of Nepal has finally manifested into a reality.”
He expressed hope that the constitution will further evolve in the course of its implementation and accommodate the aspirations of more Nepalis.
President Yadav said that there is a need of unity and reconciliation among the people of Hills, Mountains and Tarai-Madhes. “New constitution will protect the aspirations and identity of all regions and communities on equal basis,” Yadav said.
“The new constitution has been promulgated. We have to begin a new era of stability, consensus and prosperity. I congratulate the people of Nepal,” said Prime Minister Sushil Koirala under whose watch Nepal has been able to finish the constitution writing process.
The implementation of new constitution has automatically dissolved the CA, transforming into a Parliament and nullified the Interim Constitution 2007. The new charter has formally divided the country into seven provinces.
In his last address as a head of the CA, Chairman Subas Nembang said that the commencement of the new constitution has presented them with an immediate challenge to ensure its implementation.
“A good constitution in itself isn’t sufficient,” said Nembang. “Wisdom and political maturity of leaders are key ingredients for success.”
With promulgation of the constitution, the immediate task is electing a new prime minister. As per the constitutional provisions, the parliament needs to be summoned within a week of the commencement of the new constitution. And the election for the new prime minister will have to take place within a week of Parliament being in session.
The new constitution mandates that Speaker of Parliament be elected within 20 days and election for the posts of President and Vice President be held within a month.
The formation of federal commissions to finalise the demarcation of the provincial boundaries is also a pressing business. The commission will have to submit its report within a year.
The second CA has delivered a new constitution after 21-months of deliberation. The 16-point agreement signed by major parties on June 8 this year eventually paved the way for the new constitution.
However, by the end of constitution drafting process, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Loktantrik, one of the four signatories of the 16-point agreement boycotted the CA process. Altogether 57 CA members from Madhes-based parties boycotted the CA process.
There are 35 parts, 305 articles and nine annexes in the new constitution which was endorsed by 507 votes in the 598-member Assembly.