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Nepal deadline

Since abolishing its monarchy and electing a constitutional assembly in 2008, after a brutal decade-long civil war, Nepal has been struggling to agree a new constitutional framework.

The political parties look unlikely to meet the latest deadline for passing a new constitution, 22 January 2015.

The two main political parties, the United Marxist-Leninist (UML) communists and the Nepali Congress (NC), were, at the time of going to press, continuing to resist setting up an ethnic identity-based federation. Instead, the UML-NC want to limit the number of provinces to a maximum of seven, keep a parliamentary system, hold first-past-the-post elections, and have a supreme court.

The UCPN-M Maoists and their 22-party coalition instead favour a decentralised system of 10-14 provinces based on ethnicity, a directly-elected president, proportional representation, and a constitutional court.

The UML-NC coalition very nearly has the two-thirds of the constituent assembly needed to pass ‘their’ constitution.

The Maoists have threatened to return to street protests (and possibly violence) if the establishment parties do not use consensus rather than voting.