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Unsuccessful Political Leaders In Nepal

Issue 26, June 26, 2011

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

After Nepal became a republic, we have many political leaders. All of them have been unsuccessful because they have failed in acting as democratic leaders. So, they could not go along with other leaders in other words they could not lead other leaders to their political path. Some of them have even the problems of leading their colleagues in their respective political parties. This has been primarily due to they don’t have the long-term vision and don’t act accordingly but act in haste without considering the consequences of their actions. All of them understand that they need to build a consensus on the peace process, the constitution and on running the administration but none of them is ready to step back from the position anyone of them has taken so far. Practically, they have been running the administration on the majority votes rather than the consensus they think they need to build.

Jhalanath Khanal has become the prime minister after blocking the election to a new prime minister in the legislature-parliament for eight months. During the eight months, Mr. Khanal has successfully stopped the election to a new prime minister. He had told in public that he had been doing so to build a consensus on forming a new government but rather than building a consensus on electing a consensus prime minister he had hastily reached a seven-point deal with chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda and got elected to a prime minister on the majority votes on February 03, 2011.

Agreeing on working together after singing off the seven-point deal, Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda and Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal had thought that they could work on the majority votes for completing the peace process and the constitution writing. This was a realistic thinking if they could enforce the rule of law but they could not materialize it because they had no courage to enforce the rule of law by force.

Certainly, the opposition parties would fight against such a coalition but they needed not to fear the movement the opposition parties might launch but to face it. In the democratic system of governance, the opposition would always attempt to build their strength launching a movement on one pretext or another. So, the government needed to be ready for such events.

The seven-point deal both Prachanda and Khanal had reached was the correct one because the possibility of building a consensus on working all political parties had been dead since the legislature-parliament had amended the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007 replacing the working on building a consensus on everything during the transition period with the majority rule. So, the majority rule might be the only one way out of the current political doldrums.

However, Prachanda and Khanal did not show the guts to enforce the rule of law rather gave in to the threats of the NC leaders and other opposition parties that they would launch a movement against the unholy coalition of Prachanda and Khanal. These two leaders garnering the majority votes did not show the courage to enforce the majority rule because half of the CPN-UML leaders did not go along with Khanal rather the so-called leaders such as Madhav Nepal and KP Oli wanted to form a coalition with the NC rather than the UCPN-Maoist. Madhav Nepal and KP Oli also opposed the seven-point deal Prachanda and Khanal had reached. At the same time, the opposition guys stepped up their demands for scrapping the seven-point deal. They started talking to build a consensus government even though they had been the ones that had forced the UCPN-Maoist leaders to agree on the majority rule.

In June 2011, the Speaker of House had forced four lawmakers out of the legislature-parliament session for obstructing the regular business and suspended them from the office of parliament for a week. This was the first time; the Speaker had used the force to enforce the rule of law. The Speaker had set the precedent for enforcing the rule of law. In the past, lawmakers belonging to the UCPN-Maoist, NC, CPN-UML and the Madheshi political parties had obstructed the regular business of the legislature-parliament for their demands to meet. This had been the wrong precedent set by the political parties but the Speaker had recently corrected it sending the indiscipline lawmakers out of the parliament.

Time for completing the peace process and the writing of a new constitution had been running short. The term of the Constituent Assembly (CA) elected for competing these two major tasks of the country was ending on May 28, 2011. Then, the NC leaders had put up their 10-point demands as the conditions for agreeing on extending the term of the CA. In fact, the 10-point demands were only the veil to cover up their intention to end the life of the CA and put to an end to the peace process and the constitution writing. Some of the NC leaders had openly said that the political parties would run the government working on the mutual agreements in other words they had foreseen the presidential rule and the power would come to the NC leaders. These guys had belittled the efforts of the coalition government of the UCPN-Maoist and CPN-UML on completing the peace process and the constitution writing.

The top leaders of the three major political parties such as UCPN-Maoist, NC and CPN-UML had started off talking the terms and conditions of extending the life of the CA. NC leaders had clearly demonstrated that they had been for dissolving the elected CA if the UCPN-Maoist leaders did not agree on returning the property seized by its cadres, disarming the People’s Liberation Army and surrendering the arms to the government with the remaining few-day life of the CA. The Maoist leaders had made them clear that the 10-point demand was not possible to meet within the remaining limited time.

Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda had publicly said that his party would not surrender the arms. The Maoists wanted to create a separate unit of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the Nepal Army. Thus, they wanted to integrate the PLA with their arms whereas the Nepal Army and the NC leaders wanted to integrate the PLA members individually based on their merits the Nepal Army set. So, the integration of the two armies had been a bone of contention.

On the night of May 28, 2011, leaders of the UCPN-Maoist, NC and CPN-UML reached the five-point deal for extending the term of the CA for three months. The conditions they set were the three political parties should complete the peace process within this time and complete the first draft of a new constitution. They had also gentlemanly agreed on extending the term of the CA for another three months to complete the constitution writing.

The fifth point of the deal was that the prime minister would resign for paving the way for forming a consensus government. Both the actors supporting for or against the prime minister’s resignation had started working. Supporters of the prime minister including Prime Minister Khanal had started off saying that they had agreed on building a consensus on forming a new government before the resignation of the prime minister; the prime minister was ready to quit the office at any time once a consensus on forming a new government was built but the other parties had said that the current government had turned into a caretaker government as the prime minister himself had signed off the five-point deal and the legislature parliament had endorsed it.

The Khanal party in private had started saying that it was stupid to say the current government had turned into a caretaker government because the prime minister had not tendered his resignation and he would not do so until a consensus was built. The supporters of Khanal had even said again in private that if they wanted the prime minister to quit immediately without the consensus on forming a new government they could introduce a resolution of no-confidence in the prime minister at the legislature-parliament and asked for a vote on it but the so-called opposition had no such guts to do so because they had no majority votes required for removing the prime minister by votes in the legislature-parliament.

Leaders such as Dr. Baburam Bhattarai of the UCPN-Maoist and Ram Chandra Poudel of the NC aspiring to take the office of the prime minister had been asking Prime Minister Khanal to quit the office immediately following the five-point deal for paving the way to build a consensus on forming a new government but the leaders supporting Khanal had been saying that they did not want to repeat the story of deadlocking on the election to a new prime minister for eight months in the immediate past.

Certainly, it was the shame on the political leaders such as Ram Chandra Poudel of NC and Jhalanath Khanal of CPN-UML for deadlocking on the election to a new prime minister. Mr. Poudel had ran for the office of prime minister even when he had no chance of winning the election forcing the legislature-parliament to hold several rounds of elections. Mr. Khanal had held the election hostage for the ransom of forming a consensus government for eight months. These two shameless guys had held the legislature-parliament hostage for eight months disrupting the regular business of the legislature and paralyzing the administration.

Dr. Baburam Bhattarai of the UCPN-Maoist had been saying that his party should be allowed to lead the government as it held the largest number of votes in the legislature-parliament. Dr. Bhattarai either did not understand the game of the majority rule or wanted to pretend not understanding it otherwise he would not demand to give his party the opportunity of leading a new government. He should understand that nobody would bring him a platter with the office of prime minister for him to assume. He should win it. To this end, he needed to garner majority votes in the legislature-parliament. So, he should mobilize support for him to be a new consensus or majority prime minister.

Mr. Poudel also had been saying that the past partner CPN-UML in the coalition government should support him for securing the office of prime minister. Mr. Poudel had not at least said that other political parties should give his party the opportunity of leading a new government but he expected to reciprocate with the same support his party had given to the CPN-UML for forming a government led by Madhav Nepal of the CPN-UML in the past. However, Mr. Poudel also did not make efforts on mobilizing the support of other political parties for forming a new government under his leadership. In fact, he had been facing the challenges to his parliamentary leadership from the rivals in his own party.

President of NC Sushil Koirala had gone to the USA for medical check-up following the tradition set by the rulers of the previous regime. Mr. Koirala either did not know or just ignored the high quality medical services Nepal had developed after the reinstatement of democracy in 1990 and then after the declaration of Nepal a republic. His presence in Nepal was necessary at the current critical political juncture but Mr. Koirala had gone for two weeks.

In the current political situation, NC leaders could not see the chance of getting back to power with the people’s mandate. They had the vision of the people supporting the Maoists in the elections for fear of the PLA. However, they had failed in seeing the PLA members in cantonments and the PLA members had nothing to do with the elections as the Nepal Army had. So, their demands for disarming the PLA before holding elections had been the excuse for not completing the constitution writing. They hoped to continue to hold power imposing the presidential rule after dissolving the CA. This had been negative mindset of the NC leaders that had wanted to stay on in power by hook or crook. Thus, NC leaders had failed in the political arena in which they needed to complete the peace process and the constitution writing. The power would automatically follow them after every general election if these guys had been doing something beneficial to the people.

Madheshi leaders had also failed in the political games they played with each other but they had really won games when they played together with other political parties. For example, they had successfully forced the leaders of UCPN-Maoist, NC and CPN-UML to include ‘enforcing the past agreements the government had reached with them’ as one of the five points of the five-point deal. However, they had failed in keeping their political parties intact. For example, the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) had broken up into three political parties such as MPRF-Nepal, MPRF-Democratic, and MPRF-Republic. Other Madheshi political parties had also broken up into several splinter groups or parties.

Nepalese political leaders would disastrously fail if they did not complete the writing of constitution and thereafter would not seek a fresh mandate from the people. The transitional period had been breeding ground for the regressive forces and the heads of such forces that had not been cut off had been rising again. If a new dictator would appear with the support of the regressive forces then the current political leaders would either land in jail for a long term or they would need to disappear from the political scene for quite some time. So, completing the writing of a new constitution had been not only in the interest of the Nepalese people in general but also in the interest of the political leaders if they really wanted to keep their business going.

June 25, 2011


1. Seven-point Deal

The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) on February 3, 2011 signed an agreement with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-Maoist) to get its support in the prime ministerial election and to end the seven month-old deadlock. Presented below is the full text of the seven-point agreement:

1. By protecting national independence, integrity and sovereignty, we agree to move forward by ending all forms of feudalism, build an independent economy through socio-economic transformation, strengthen inclusive democracy and develop a pro-people political order. On this basis, we have agreed to go forward along with all the leftist, patriotic and democratic forces.

2. Both the parties agree on drafting the new constitution that ensures national independence, ending all forms of feudalism and strengthening people’s inclusive democracy besides institutionalizing a republican set-up and turning Nepal into a federal system by restructuring the state.

3. To take the peace process to its logical conclusion, voluntary retirement, rehabilitation and integration will be implemented. On integrating Maoist combatants into security forces, we have agreed to form either a separate force of Maoist combatants or a combined force of Maoist combatants and other security forces, giving continuity to the ongoing work on the peace process.

4. Both the parties agree to form a joint government. A high-level mechanism will be created to help in the functioning of the government. It will be led by the chairman/president of the party on a rotational basis. In this context, a new government will be formed by as many parties as possible. The sharing of important ministries, including home and defense, will be done in an appropriate and respectable manner. The top leaders of the two parties will take responsibility for the mechanism.

5. The Minimum Common Program of the new government will be implemented by creating a code of conduct.

6. By leading future governments on a rotational basis based on mutual agreement, the long-term partnership and journey between the two parties will be carried forward.

7. It has been agreed that the UCPN-Maoist will support the CPN-UML candidate in the prime ministerial election.

Prachanda                                Jhalanath Khanal

Chairman, UCPN (Maoist)                        Chairman, CPN (UML)

February 03, 2011

2. Five-point Deal

Early on the morning of May 29, 2011, after the leaders of UCPN-Maoist, NC and CPN-UML have signed off the following five-point deal:

1)     Complete the basic work on the peace process in three months;
2)    Prepare a first draft of a constitution in three months;
3)    Enforce the agreements reached with United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF) in the past, and make the Nepali Army inclusive;
4)    Extend the term of the CA for three months;
5)    Prime Minister will resign for paving the way for forming a national consensus government;

Out of 596 members of the Constituent Assembly (CA), 504 voted for extending the term of the CA for three months while four voted against the extension of the term of the CA.

Chairman of UCPN-Maoist Prachanda, President of NC Sushil Koirala and Chairman of CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal signed off the document at the last moment.

This time, the deal was not limited to the three major parties. They took it to the legislature-parliament and got it endorsed. So, the legislature-parliament is also responsible for enforcing it.

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