The Norwegian constitution celebrated its 200th Anniversary 17th of May 2014. In Nepal, the Constituent Assembly elected in November 2013 has set itself a deadline of 22nd January 2015 to finalise a new constitution. This was the background when the Norwegian Embassy in Kathmandu together with International IDEA hosted a seminar looking at the key principles to an Enduring Constitution at the Everest Hotel on Friday 15 August.
Minister Counsellor Håkon Gulbrandsen gave an opening speech before introducing the panel, highlighting the most important principles of the Norwegian Constitution, with special emphasis on its flexibility.
– The flexibility of the Constitution has allowed it to be amended over 300 times but the basic principles have not changed.
The seminar had four introductory speakers, each presenting a different perspective on the topic:
* Professor Tom Ginsberg of the University of Chicago Law School focused specifically on the Constitution of Norway’s three key principles inclusion, flexibility and specificity.
* Mr. Sumit Bisarya, Head of International IDEA’s Constitution Building Program talked about the three key principles from a comparative/global perspective.
* Ms. Pushpa Bhusal, Senior advocate (Supreme Court) and former CA member highlighted on how the work of Constituent Assembly I measures up to these principles to produce a constitution that will endure.
* Mr. Purna Man Shakya, Senior Advocate and one of Nepal’s leading lawyers concentrated on what the Constitutional Assembly II needs to keep in mind with regard to the three principles to produce a constitution that will endure.
The seminar brought together key stakeholders involved in Nepal’s constitution drafting process. Participants were CA members, civil society members who are actively engaged with the constitution drafting process, the commissions and other relevant stakeholders. Over 70 people attended, and there was a good discussion when the floor was opened for questions and comments after the introductory speakers had presented their respective papers.
– I hope that this seminar will provide an opportunity for sharing national and international experience to have a better understanding of the constitution drafting process, and build momentum for the constitution writing process in order to meet the deadline of January 22nd, Minister Counsellor Håkon Gulbrandsen said in his opening speech.