Does This Marathon Have a Finish Line?

“Is the Nepal Government imposing state of emergency?”, a tourist asked me in one of the streets of Kathmandu. Not exactly, I told him, but close. Nobody is happy with the things happening in the past few months. It is clear that Nepal will not be able to deliver a new constitution on its deadline: May 28, 2010. The 601 representatives of the Constitution Assembly have to approve the document, and they have a very long way to go.

The structure of the government: presidential form or prime minister as the chief executive; the numbers of states under federation and the judiciary system; whether it will be independent or under parliament and, regarding the parliament, will it be unicameral or have two chambers--none of this has been decided.

The ruling parties have publicly said that constitution cannot be drafted by the deadline. So, what will happen after May 28? What kind of constitutional crisis will Nepal face?

Constitutional experts in Kathmandu say that after May 28, the timeline of constituent assembly will end. However, the interim constitution and the present government will continue. Experts say the constitutional assembly's time can only be extended if there is state of emergency.

-Rajneesh Bhandari