Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Federalism’

Nepal’s Crisis: Can a Broken Nation Remake Itself?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 7, 2012

After a decade of war and nearly half a decade of political dysfunction, the impoverished Himalayan nation is struggling to refashion itself as a secular, pluralistic republic. Political bickering and factionalism is getting in the way.
Prakash Mathema / AFP / Getty Images
PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
Nepalese student activists shout slogans during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai in Kathmandu on June 17, 2012. The Himalayan nation plunged into political crisis after the constituent assembly was disbanded having failed to agree on a new constitution.

Not long ago, a gleaming white edifice in the Baneshwor neighborhood of Kathmandu evoked hope and optimism. The Chinese-built hall for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, a 601-member body tasked with writing a constitution for the fledgling republic, was supposed to be the site of the country’s remaking after a decade-long Maoist insurgency that ended in 2006.

Instead, after yet another deadline for Nepal’s feuding lawmakers to draft a new constitution passed on May 27, the area has taken on a worn, deserted look. Gone are the thousands of protesters who converged here; so too, the hordes of security forces in riot gear. An eerie silence pervades life in Kathmandu, a capital city that has grown accustomed to political deadlock and dysfunction.

Nepal’s uneasy calm hides crises that are deepening every day. The major dispute centers around how this country of 26.6 million will be reshaped. That question has remained unanswered since the peace process began under U.N. auspices six years ago, marking the end of a nearly three-century-old Hindu monarchy and the awkward beginnings of a secular republic. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘We want to strengthen the relationship with India’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 29, 2011

As head of Nepal’s most powerful party, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Pushpa Kamal

PUSHPA KAMAL DAHAL PRACHANDA: ‘We are not anti-Indian. Relations between India and Nepal are unique on the basis of history, culture, geography, and economy. No one can think of weakening this.' — PHOTO: REUTERS

Dahal Prachanda’s position holds the key to the political developments in the republic. On April 26 (Tuesday night), Mr. Prachanda spoke exclusively to Prashant Jha to discuss the state of transitional politics in Nepal, internal party divisions, and relations with India. Excerpts:

 Will Nepal have a new constitution by May 28?

We should have been able to conclude the peace process and promulgate the statute by May 28. But the absence of an agreement between political parties has limited that possibility. I won’t say it is impossible, because we have often made historic decisions at the last minute. As the largest party in the CA, and as the force that pushed the agenda of the Constituent Assembly, republic, federalism, secularism, social justice, inclusion, proportional representation, we are committed to taking the peace process forward and creating a unified draft of the constitution before May 28 so that the Nepali people believe these tasks will be completed. They themselves would happily give us time after that.

Why did the parties fail to come to an agreement?

The first reason is that we were in a movement against the last government, since they were trying to isolate the biggest party in the CA. Our claim was that Maoists should lead the government, but others did not accept our legitimate claim. Then we went in for elections in parliament, but could not elect a PM for seven months. The disagreement between parties was one reason for this, but we also felt that various other forces tried to create obstacles in government formation. We then sacrificed our claim, but it was too late to take the process forward.

In the earlier stages, it was agreed that parties would move ahead together, in consensus. But after the Maoists emerged as the strongest party in the CA, other parties developed suspicions that Maoists would be in power forever — they had not anticipated the widespread popular support for the Maoists, and got terrorised at this prospect. They broke the agreement to move ahead consensually, creating difficulties.

Internal party dynamics

Can you tell us the exact nature of the debates within the party?

There are three kinds of thought in the party. One school believes that instead of emphasising peace and constitution, we should go in for a people’s revolt to get power. The second school believes that we should focus on peace and constitution at whatever cost. And the third school, which I lead, is that we should focus on peace and constitution, but if there are conspiracies, then there may be a need to get people on the streets to revolt. At the end, the party adopted a line that we should focus on peace and constitution, but also make people aware to make these conspiracies unsuccessful. Read the rest of this entry »

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