World article on Nepal's Constituent Assembly term expires regarding Constitution, Protesters, Assembly, Police, Constituent, Political, Thousands, Leaders, Resolve, Differences, Parties, States, Unable, Times, Task, Extended, Tenure, Draft
Nepal's prime minister says political leaders failed to reach agreement on drafting a new constitution before the expiration of the term of the country's Constituent Assembly.
Police fired tear gas and beat protesters with batons Sunday outside Nepal's Constituent Assembly, where political leaders were meeting in a last-minute attempt to agree on a new constitution before the assembly's midnight expiration.
The four main parties were attempting to resolve differences over whether the states to be created by the constitution should be determined on the basis of ethnicity.
Thousands of protesters opposed to the idea tried to push through a riot police line on the northern side of the assembly hall. Police pushed them back and a scuffle ensued, with the protesters throwing stones and police responding with tear gas and batons.
Three policemen and several protesters were injured.
On the other side of the assembly hall, thousands of other people demonstrated in support of states based on ethnicity. A thick police line kept the groups apart.
The Constituent Assembly was elected to a two-year term in 2008 to draft a new constitution but has been unable to finish the task. Its tenure has been extended four times, but the Supreme Court has rejected any further extensions.
New elections will have to be held if the assembly expires without completing the charter.
The main political parties have been able to resolve some other thorny differences in the past, including the future of thousands of Maoist rebel fighters who were confined to camps after giving up their armed revolt in 2006.