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Lawmakers in Nepal Fail to Agree on New Constitution

  • VOA News

Nepalese security men form a human chain to stop members of opposition parties protesting against the formation of a draft constitution in the parliament building in Kathmandu, Jan. 22, 2015.

Nepalese security men form a human chain to stop members of opposition parties protesting against the formation of a draft constitution in the parliament building in Kathmandu, Jan. 22, 2015.

Lawmakers in Nepal have missed a midnight deadline for a new national constitution, with several disputed points remaining unresolved.

The parliament speaker, Subash Nembang, adjourned a rancorous session late Thursday as Maoist-led opposition members blocked the ruling coalition’s effort to vote on the issues of contention. The speaker said he would allow the ruling parties to present their proposals in the coming days.

Efforts at agreeing on a constitution have been thwarted by differences among political parties over internal borders. The opposition is pushing for the creation of provinces that could favor historically marginalized groups. The ruling center-left alliance says creating areas along ethnic lines could trigger tensions.

The chaos spilled into the streets, where an estimated 1,000 police were deployed to guard against thousands of flag-waving protesters outside the parliament building.

Analysts say the protracted stalemate raises the risk of unrest in the impoverished Himalayan nation, where lawmakers this week scuffled in parliament as tempers flared. The country's rival parties have spent years trying to agree on a constitution.

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