First CA meeting delayed, parties still sorting diff on key issues

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Kathmandu, May 28 (UNI) The much-anticipated first Constituent Assembly (CA) meeting of the the Himalayan nation, initially slated to be held at 1100 hrs (local time) this morning, has been postponed after political parties failed to unanimously agree on some key CA issues.

It is expected the meeting will be held at 1800 hrs in evening, having been pushed back from 1500 hrs and then again from 1630 hrs.

The meeting was stalled even before it began at the Birendra International Convention Center (BICC) in the capital with no headway made on the rights and duties of the president, the 26 CA members to be nominated by the cabinet, among other issues, Kantipur reported.

The CA, elected through the landmark elections held last month, will formally announce the implementation of the federal democratic republic system in the country, ending the 240-year-old institution of monarchy.

Many of the newly elected CA members had reached the CA meeting venue at the BICC.

The 601-member CA will write a new constitution for a new Nepal and decide the fate of the last remaining Hindu king of the world.

The major constituents of the CA were still holding discussions to reach a common agreement on key issues.

The interim legislature parliament has already announced that the country will become a federal democratic republic. As the eldest CA member, Nepali Congress leader KB Gurung will declare the country a republic.

Mr Gurung, 73, chaired the CA meeting as Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, 84, is still the Chairman of the interim legislature.

Yesterday, a total of 568 CA members took the oath of office and secrecy after being elected in the landmark CA polls conducted under First-Past-the-Post and Proportional Representation electoral systems in April.

The former rebels CPN-Maoists won 220 seats in the April 10 ballot, Nepali Congress won 110 seats, while the CPN -UML secured 103 and the newly emerged party Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF), representing Madhes the country's southern plains along the Indian border, won 52 seats.

UNI XC RJ US1746

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