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CJ-led Government-10

Issue 21, May 26, 2013

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


In preparation for the elections to the second Constituent Assembly (CA), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Rastriya Janashakti Party (RJP) have been unified. The CPN-Maoist-Vaidhya has not officially decided whether to boycott the elections or not. The four-party political mechanism has not been able to build a consensus on the amendment to the Constituent Assembly Member Election Act. Consequently, the Interim Election Council of Ministers (IECM) has not been able to announce the date of elections, as the elections are not possible without the enactment of the Constituent Assembly Member Election Act. However, majority of political parties have registered their parties at the Election Commission (EC) for the purposes of elections, and major political parties have launched election campaigns.


RPP and RJP held the opening of a five-day joint convention at Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu on May 17, 2013 to declare the unification of the two parties in presence of the representatives of the national and international political parties. The unified RPP has adopted the republication setup and federalism but not the identity-based federalism. Most of the political leaders of RPP and RJP are sure that monarchy would not return but two of them still believe that the monarchy might return.


Former Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand also one of the leaders of the RPP said that he regretted to see the monarchy gone; he would not have let the monarchy go but the monarchy had gone. Another RPP leader Rajeshower Devkota said that the monarchy had returned in some countries but he was not sure whether the monarchy would return in Nepal or not but the RPP needed to make provision for it. Former Prime Minister also the Chairman of RJP Surya Bahadur Thapa said that the monarchy would never return in Nepal. He also said that the Madheshi movement had swept away the monarchy. So, he advised the leaders opting for the monarchy not to waste time thinking to get back the monarchy.


Chairman of the RPP Pashupati Shumsher has said that after the continuous efforts of three years, RPP and RJP are unified to set it up as an alternative democratic force in the country. He also said that if the current political situation were to continue then dictatorship might prevail; the four political parties have been illegally running the country. He demanded the immediate resignation of the chairman of IECM Khil Raj Regmi from the position of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal, and immediate dissolution of the four-party political mechanism.


Speaking at the closing ceremony of the unification convention of the RPP and RJP on May 21, 2013, newly elected chairman of unified RPP Surya Bahadur Thapa said that an alliance among the democratic forces was required; if we were to lose democracy then dictatorship in the name of nationalism would prevail; fresh mandate from the people would break the current political deadlock; so, elections would be held no matter what rumors were prevailing; political stability would be possible only after the crafting of a new constitution; the unified RPP accepted democracy, republican set up, federalism, identity of Nepalis, history and culture of the country, according to the ‘gorkhapatra’ of May 22, 2013.


RPP had been a third party in the elections held for a parliament in 1994. CPN-UML became the largest party without having sufficient seats in the parliament to form a government. NC became the second largest. Taking the advantage of the hostility between the NC and the CPN-UML at that time, leaders of RPP succeed to ride on the shoulders of the leaders of the CPN-UML, and then on the shoulders of the NC. Lokendra Bahadur Chand became the first prime minister of the coalition government of the CPN-UML, and Bamdev Gautam of the CPN-UML the deputy prime minister despite the strong opposition of Pashupati Shumsher. Practically, Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam ran the administration, and held the elections to local governments, and made the elections results in favor of the CPN-UML. Then, the NC leaders tore down the coalition government of the CPN-UML and the RPP, and formed another collation government of the NC and RPP with the help of the pro-NC leaders, and Surya Bahadur Thapa of the RPP became the next prime minister. Later on, President of NC Girija Prasad Koirala forced Surya Bahadur Thapa out of office, and took over the power from him. This time, the newly elected Chairman of RPP Surya Bahadur Thapa anticipated being the fourth largest party after the elections to the second CA.


Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal (RPP-Nepal) is the only party left for revival of the monarchy. RPP-Nepal is a splinter of the original RPP. Kamal Thapa is heading this party. Thapa was the Home Minister of the then king Gyanendra during the people’s movement of 2006. He will run the party as long as he has the money unscrupulously amassed during and before the movement. His activities don’t show that he has received any sorts of support including funding for the party from former king Gyanendra. So, Kamal Thapa’s support for the monarchy has been only the formality. Probably, he has been doing so to keep the different identity of his party in the sea of political parties in the country. One of his colleagues had lamented for even the RPP adopting the republican setup and the federalism.


One of the leaders of the UCPN-Maoist Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that former king Gyanendra could participate in the elections as a candidate if he liked; it was his fundamental rights to be a candidate or to cast vote. Gyanendra has not reacted to this statement. He also must have lost the hope of going back to wearing the jewel-encrusted crown. He had been keeping quite low profile. He has a domestic problem of managing his prodigal son: former crown prince Paras that had brain hemorrhage and has been undergoing treatment in Bangkok, Thailand. However, according to the local newspaper, Gyanendra receives 10 petitions on an average at his residence Nirmal Niwas every day asking for his help, and offering him their help in coming back to the monarchy.


Talking to the anchor of the morning program called ‘antar-samd’ of the State-run Radio Nepal on May 22, 2013, Chairman of CPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidhya has said that his party has not officially made any decision on taking part or not in the elections. He however, said that his party would not participate in the elections in the current state of affairs. He also said that his party had been holding informal talks with other political parties. He has repeated his demand for annulling the ‘Removal of Constitutional Hurdles Ordinance’, and removing the current government, and setting up an all-party government for holding elections. He repeated his stand on not letting the holding of the elections. He charged the four political parties with doing everything not listening to others. He also vigorously opposed the current distribution of citizenship certificates to non-Nepalis, and demanded immediate cancellation of such citizenship certificates. He did not see the need for distributing citizenship certificates for the purposes of the elections. Thus, he has grossly ignored the need of citizenship certificates for issuing voters’ identity cards following the provision made in the law.


Speaking at the opening of a play titled ‘Uni Mareka Chainan’ produced in the memory of martyr Krishna Sen on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, Chairman of CPN-Maoist Mohan Vaidhya has said that if the demands put forth by his party goes unaddressed then his party will write the new constitution “from the streets itself” through a nationwide movement. He also has said that the country won’t get a way out of the present mess until the current Khil Raj Regmi government is pulled down and political parties appoint a new prime minister by holding a round table meeting. He has said that he sees all sorts of conspiracies have been going on to betray the Nepali people and their aspirations again like numerous times in the past since the revolution of 1951; if that happens again then his party won’t tolerate it and write a new constitution from the street itself in order to give a definite conclusion to the new communist revolution, according to


Leaders of the four-party political mechanism hinted at an arrangement of the resignation of the Chairman of the IECM Khil Raj Regmi from the office of the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal if that were to become sufficient for the CPN-Maoist-Vaidhya to participate in the elections. None of the leaders of the CPN-Maoist-Vaidhya has reacted to this offer. They did not recognize the IECM as the legitimate government, and so they were not for participating in the elections held by the illegitimate government. They wanted a roundtable meeting of all political parties having representation in the dissolved CA, and then form an all-party government to hold elections.


Leaders of the four-party mechanism have not been able to settle the issues such as the number of CA members, and the threshold of votes for the proportional representation. Leaders of the UCPN-Maoist and the UDMF wanted to go back to the previous provisions for 601 CA members, and no threshold as in the previous elections to the CA held in 2008 but leaders of NC and CPN-UML have been insisting on the new provisions for 491 CA members, and the one-percent threshold of votes for the proportional representation. Consequently, the amendment to the Constituent Assembly Member Election Act has been in limbo. The EC could not hold the elections without passing this Act. The IECM did not announce the date of elections.


Some of the UCPN-Maoist leaders have been charging the president, the IECM, NC, and CPN-UML for not willing to hold elections. If the elections were to hold then the president needed to quit the office, as the new CA would elect a new president. The president did not want to hold elections to prolong the tenure of his presidency. Similarly, the IECM did not want to hold the elections, as the IECM would need to leave the office after the elections. The NC and the CPN-UML have the phobia of losing the elections; so they want to maintain the status quo, according to the UCPN-Maoist leaders.


Chairman of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party Rajendra Mahato has restarted his fast unto death at the peace garden in Kathmandu asking the IECM for meeting the 10-point demand including the immediate announcement of the election date on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. Chairman Mahato had broken his fast unto death after the IECM agreed on holding talks with his party but after three days of the talks, Chairman Mahato went back to the fast stating the IECM was not serious about meeting the demand of his party. However, the secretary to the office of the prime minister said that the IECM was serious about meeting the demand of the Nepal Sadbhavana party, and urged Chairman Mahato to call off the fast unto death immediately.


By May 23, 2013, 37 political parties have registered at the EC for the election purposes. New political parties have to submit the signatures of 10,000 people endorsing the parties for the registration at the EC. Signatories have to submit the number of their citizenship certificates to make sure that their certificates are verifiable, and they are really Nepalis and the signatures are not fake ones. None could sign for more than one party. If anyone does then validity of the registration of such a party would be lost. Previously, political parties did not need to submit the signatures of 10,000 people. Now, small political parties have opposed this provision stating the political parties that want to filter out the small political parties have made this provision.


Most of the leaders have been in districts running election campaign. Leaders of NC and CPN-UML have been smart to criticize the UCPN-Maoist forgetting to have any agenda of their parties for the political and economical development of the country. They believe that criticizing the UCPN-Maoist would lead them to victory in the elections. It remains to be seen whether these guys are correct or not. This time, leaders of the UCPN-Maoist have been temperate in criticizing the NC and CPN-UML leaders.


At the meeting held at the Balkhu headquarters of the CPN-UML on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, leaders of the NC and the CPN-UML have decided to be firm in their stand on holding elections following the 11-point agreement reached among the four major political parties such as UCPN-Maoist, NC, CPN-UML, and UDMF, and the 25-point Removal of Constitutional Hurdles Ordinance. It means leaders of NC and CPN-UML have been hell-bent on sticking to the 491 members of CA, and one-percent threshold of the votes for the proportional representation despite the opposition of the ethnic people. If the provisions for 491 CA members and one-percent threshold were to agree on, then majority of the ethnic Nepalis lose their representation in a CA. So, it will provoke the perpetual fight of the ethnic people against such provision in the future.


On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) submitted a memorandum to chairman of IECM Khil Raj Regmi demanding to keep the 601 members of the CA intact. A NEFIN delegation led by its newly elected president Nagendra Kumar Kumal met with Chairman Regmi at his office in Singhadurbar and submitted the memorandum. In the memorandum, the NEFIN also opposed the proposal of the EC for introducing one-percent threshold for proportional representation in the CA; such a provision would minimize the representation of marginalized ethnic Nepalis, according to


Speaking at a special meeting held by All Nepal National Independent Student Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-Revolutionary) at Mahendra Multiple Campus in Dang on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, leader of UCPN-Maoist Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that the fight between the progressive and regressive forces was still on; ideological and political competition between the UCPN-Maoist and the NC continued; former CA was dissolved without promulgating a new constitution, as NC was against federalism. “UCPN-Maoist has always voiced for identity-based federalism and equal rights to people of all strata,” he said, and asked the youths to put efforts on making his party a largest political force in the CA election for ensuring the people’s rights.” He said that the main agenda of the UCPN-Maoist would be the identity-based federalism and economic prosperity for the upcoming CA polls, according to


Speaking at the anniversary of Nikas weekly in Hetauda, Makawanpur on May 22, 2013, spokesperson for UCPN-Maoist Agni Prasad Sapkota alleged that the NC and the CPN-UML have been attempting to retreat from past agreements; the dual character of the political parties would not provide the country with the way out to end the political crisis. “How can the people believe political parties if they pull off from past agreements?” asked Sapkota, and said that the double standards adopted by them would only lead the country to regression. “Koirala has been saying that the four-party mechanism should be scrapped when he had agreed that the four political parties would in turn coordinate the High-Level Political Committee (HLPC) earlier,” he said, adding that Koirala’s behavior has been suspicious. He also said that the UCPN-Maoist was committed to holding CA elections; his party would not quit the government to form the Interim Election Council of Ministers if it were not for going to the polls, according to ‘’


Recently, some leaders of NC and CPN-UML have been setting the tone that the UCPN-Maoist does not want the elections; so, it has been breaking up the previous agreement, and taking the side of the demand for going back to the previous provisions for 601-meber CA, and no provision for the threshold of votes for the proportional representation.


The provision for the requirement of 10,000 signatories for registering political parties at the EC has already filtered out a number of political parties, as the number of political parties has reduced to currently 37 from 119 registered at the EC for the elections to the previous CA. Out of 119 political parties registered at the EC, 25 political parties represented in the past CA; then some of them split and became altogether 33 parties in the dissolved 601-member CA. If the NC and the CPN-UML were to succeed to their stand on the 491-member CA, and one-percent of votes for the proportional representation, then a number of small parties and ethnic Nepalis would lose their representation in the CA, and the CA would be exclusively of the large parties and of the Nepalis having majority. Then, the ethnic Nepalis and small political parties would have no alternative but to launch a guerrilla war for their voices to be heard in their own country.


NC and CPN-UML leaders have been sticking to their stand on the 491-member CA, and one-percent threshold because of ignorance of such a CA would be exclusive, but ethnic Nepalis and small parties would fight for their inclusion in the CA. It would be too late for them to understand it if they were to block the elections on the pretext of holding elections following the 11-point agreement the four major parties had reached, and keeping the one-percent threshold, and the 491-member CA. Ethnic Nepalis and small political parties are to follow such an agreement or not is the question they have to answer. Obviously, not, in fact, the 33 political parties including the CPN-Maoist-Vaidhya have been opposing this agreement, and stating that they would not allow to hold the elections if these restrictions were to stay. Fighting against the 491-member CA, and one-percent threshold has already begun. Surely, leaders of the NC and CPN-UML have been afraid of the ethnic people representing in the CA, and making their lives difficult in crafting a constitution of their choice, so they want to impose restriction on the ethnic Nepalis representing in the CA.


May 25, 2013


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