Tom Ginsburg Weighs In on the Constitution Drafting Process in Nepal

Flexibility Crucial for Constitution

Tom Ginsberg is a professor at University of Chicago Law School. He specialises on comparative and internal law from an interdisciplinary perspective. He also co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project, an effort funded by National Science Foundation to gather and analyse the constitutions of all independent nation-states since 1780. As a part of his job, he has been closely following comparative constitution drafting process around the world. This week, he visited Nepal and held wide-range of discussions regarding the ongoing constitution drafting process in Nepal. Kamal Dev Bhattarai talked with him to solicit his views on how the outstanding issues of the new constitution could be resolved. Excerpts:

The issue of federalism remains one of the contentious issues in Nepal. What do you suggest our political parties should do to resolve these issue to promulgate the constitution on time?

I know there is a big fight among the parties on the number of provinces units here. Whatever a system is adopted, it must be flexible over time. In every federal system, there will always be a room for further adjustment and renegotiation. It is a continuous process. Whatever you decide might prove to be irrelevant in the years to come. So perhaps the most important design of the constitution is to make sure that it is flexible.

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