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5.28.2012

Nepal's Constitutional Future

Yesterday, Nepali Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai dissolved the Constituent Assembly after it failed to create a new constitution by its midnight deadline. Prime Minister Bhattarai subsequently scheduled elections to form a new assembly in November.

The principal challenge of constitutional design in Nepal concerns federalism, specifically the promise and peril of creating an ethnic-based federalism to manage the country's ethnic diversity. The Constituent Assembly has been unable to reach a resolution to this question over the past four years. That same question will again confront the new assembly once it is convened.

The Constituent Assembly was originally elected to a two-year term in 2008. Its term was extended four times. But the Supreme Court ruled in March 2012 that the Constituent Assembly would not be granted another extension beyond the May 27 deadline.

This blog has chronicled Nepal's challenges in drafting a new constitution. Terry Hoverter wrote a very useful introduction to the drafting process two years ago, and last year Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez discussed the drafting process against the backdrop of the doctrine of necessity.

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