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What a Political Scenario in Nepal

Issue 47, November 23, 2008

By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

The election for a Constituent Assembly (CA) in April 2008 has changed the political landscape of Nepal. It has created a number of new political parties, and has downgraded some of the so-called large political parties. The most important thing it has done is to put a number of representatives of a number of ethnic groups so far not represented in any state body in the CA. So, some political analysts say that the CA is the most inclusive body.

All political parties have been going head-on collision with each other despite the six-party government has been running the administration. The major political parties such as Nepali Congress (NC) and the Terai Madhesh Democratic Party (TMDP) have opted to remain off the government. The NC has been in the field to run the campaign of creating awareness of authoritarian rule of the Maoists while the TMDP interrupts the session of the CA.

Currently, most of the political leaders defeated in the election for a CA have been engaged in the politics of vendetta rather than reconciling with the election result and institutionalizing the federal democratic republic of Nepal transferring the power smoothly to the elected major political parties. This has knowingly or unknowingly created a political situation that might be favorable for any opportunist to capture the state power, as the political leaders have been ignoring the people’s mandate and going against the Nepalese people’s aspirations for federal democratic republic, peace and stability.

The least known Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) came out to be a major political party in the CA. They won 120 seats directly elected and another 100 seats indirectly elected to the CA. Thus, a new political party came to be a major winner. Thus, we find so many Maoists sitting in the CA session.

The Maoists are in power; however, they are confused, what to do with the power. Some Maoist leaders say in public that it is their strategy to enter into the politics of the bourgeoisie democracy, first demolishing the monarchy and then capturing the state power. So, they are well on the way to capturing the state power. However, Prime Minister Prachanda and his Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai have been parroting that they are for a multi-party democracy but they have been forcibly saying that the parliamentary system has failed in Nepal.

The Maoists have held the Central Committee meeting from Monday, November 17 to Thursday, November 21, 2008. Chairman Prachanda in his political report proposed three sorts of republic: federal democratic republic, transitional republic and People’s Republic. His rival Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ proposed for going to People’s Republic immediately. If the Central Committee meeting passes ‘Kiran’s version of republic then the Maoists have to stage a political coupe.

The Maoists are well in a position to capture a state power by force. They have been already one step in it, as they are leading the six-party coalition government. Using the provision for a state of emergency made in the Interim Constitution, the Maoists might capture the power declaring a state of emergency. Such a state of emergency might last for a month or two, at the maxim three months not more than that. Then the Maoist would extinct forever, as did the monarchy. However, they might leave Nepal a failed state.

The NC has been creating an environment conducive for the Maoist to declare a state of emergency. First, the NC did not participate in the coalition government going against the people’s mandate on working all political parties together; second, the NC has launched a campaign for creating awareness of the authoritarian rule of the Maoists. When the campaign of the NC reaches the climax that will be the most favorable time for the Maoists to stage a coup d'état. This might be what Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ is seeking for.

Similarly, Madheshi political parties such as Madheshi People’s Rights Forum and Terai Madhesh Democratic Party might also create an environment conducive for the Maoists to capture a state power. Their practice of interrupting the session of the CA is the most suitable actions for creating such an environment. They think that they are practicing the democratic rights but it is the most undemocratic action to stop the regular session of the CA. It would assist any opportunist in capturing a state power.

The Maoists have the control over both the regular Nepali Army and their People’s Liberation Army. They would need some time to consolidate such control over both the armies. When they are sure that they have firm control on these armies they would tend to do something drastic things that might be political changes.

Some NC leaders particularly former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Acting Vice President Sushil Koirala have been saying in public that the Maoists are heading to an authoritarian rule. That might come true if the current political situation continues for some time to come. However, they have not presented any strategy to prevent such things in the country except for taking to streets.

The CPN-UML has been playing a hide-and-seek game with the Maoists. The central level leaders of the CPN-UML except for a few leaders such as KP Oli and Madhav Kumar Nepal have cordial relation with the top Maoist leaders, and they have been cooperating on running the administration. However, the youth organizations of these two political parties have been rivals at district level and they are head-on collision.

Some of the CPN-UML leaders have not forgotten the defeat they had suffered in the election for the CA. They are certainly for taking back their lost glory but they do not have a real strategy of doing such a thing. They have been acting in emotion.

The solution to the current political problem might be for the leaders of the political parties to work sincerely following the mandate given by the voters in the election for a CA in April 2008.

The NC leaders need to leave the attitude of destroying another political party for building its own party going against the people’s mandate. So, if they want to save the country from going to the hands of the Maoist hardliners they need to cooperate with the government and expedite the writing of a constitution rather than engaging in the campaign of creating awareness of the authoritarian rule of the Maoists.

Similarly, the CPN-UML leaders need to learn the lessons from the defeat in the election for a CA, and take corrective measures to put the party back on the right track and work on preparing for regaining the lost glory in the next election.

In view of the people’s mandate they have received in the election for a CA in April 2008, the Maoists need to work on consolidating Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal rather than engaging in setting up any other sorts of republic in Nepal. If they do not follow the Nepalese people’s mandate then they would lead Nepal to a failed state for which Nepalis would never forgive the Maoists.

Another thing the hardliner Maoists need to know is that Nepal is not the right country for imposing their idea of People’s Republic or something else other than the federal democratic republic. Nepalis have already been highly conscious of politics and would not allow any political party to rule unilaterally. Also the international community would never support such a rule of any political party in Nepal.

So, the only right path to the political solution in Nepal would be to follow the people’s mandate and craft a new constitution within the time limit set by the Interim Constitution, and proclaim a new people’s constitution and then hold an election for a new system of governance a new constitution sets. It will serve the interest of all Nepalis.

Nepal is currently at the crossroad; all political parties are responsible for taking Nepal to a right path of political development for a lasting peace and stability.

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