Vol. 10 - No. 7


SOUTH ASIA: NEPAL                                                                                                                       News Briefs


(Afghanistan and Myanmar in the 
         map are not members of SAARC)

Towards President's rule?


We seem to be moving more towards presidential rule after 28 May next year rather than promulgating the new constitution and holding elections thereafter.

Unless the political parties agree on the major contents of the constitution, the make-up of the future Nepali state, and delinking the Maoist political party from its army, the existing Constituent Assembly-cum-Legislature/Parliament will die on 28 May, 2011. Gone with it will be the prime minister (caretaker or otherwise), the speaker/chairman, and all the committees of the Constituent Assembly.

Only the president's office will remain active. Of course, lawyers close to the Maoists and the Maoist leaders themselves and their army of apologists have argued that the president too will cease to exist.

It will be in no one's interest, least of all the Maoists', to have presidential rule. Surprisingly, the dominant sections of the three major parties – NC, the Maoists, and UML – are open to President Ram Baran Yadav stepping in. Clearly they have their own calculations.

Let us take the Maoist party first. Having tried all the angles it could think of, from civilian supremacy to national sovereignty, enforcing a nationwide shutdown to issuing the open threat of people's revolt, the party has failed to ignite the desired passion among large sections of the populace. Exasperated, it even tried throwing in the revival of the monarchy as a 'cultural' or 'people's' monarchy (whatever the last means). Nothing has clicked.

The party, especially Chairman Dahal, is looking for an agenda to galvanise the nation and especially its cadre base, which is growing disenchanted by his 'Rado' culture. Presidential rule, before the CA dies a natural death, would provide just that spark. "We told you so," will be the refrain from Dahal and his acolytes.

NC's hardline faction wants the head of state to take matters in hand because it feels the country is sliding into chaos due to Maoist atrocities, obstinacy, and its refusal to accept a constitution that guarantees constitutional supremacy, pluralism, an independent judiciary, and a free press. They are gaining strength since the Maoists have continued to add fuel to their suspicions, thus weakening the moderates in NC who advocate courting the Maoists and believe they can transform into a truly civilian democratic party.

The Madhav Kumar Nepal-KP Oli faction of UML would gladly accept presidential rule, now or post-28 May. These two leaders are itching to "teach the Maoists a lesson" and by proxy, their own party chairman Jhalanath Khanal, who is close to the Dahal-led faction of the Maoist Party.

Needless to say, these influential people do not believe the constitution will be written and promulgated by 28 May, 2011. But presidential rule will not follow the script they may expect.

All the gains made since the success of People's Movement II in 2006 will be either lost or will come under attack from royalist forces that are already rearing their heads. Dahal would be too happy to even formally align with them. He is already hobnobbing with them under the umbrella of 'nationalism'.

The sections in the big three parties and civil society that believe that the country has really made impressive gains and can build on it need to openly raise their voice in favour of writing the constitution and settling the question of ex-Maoist combatants. Growing calls for presidential rule should be a wake-up call for them, for it won't be Dr Yadav who will be running the show if rule in his name is announced.

[Source: Nepali Times]

News Briefs


Nepal confers honorary Gen of NA to Indian Army Chief: Indian Army chief V K Singh was today conferred the title of 'honorary General' of Nepal Army, even as he asked Nepal not to allow any activity directed against India from its territory. Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav provided Gen. Singh with an insignia and citation of Nepal Army as part of the investiture ceremony…PTI, December 23, 2010

Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne accuses LTTE of executing prisoners of war: The Sri Lankan Government on December 8 said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had executed Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel imprisoned by them during the final stages of the war in 2009. Prime rld uses the national anthem in other than one language, Sunday Times reported on December 12. Times of India, December 12, 2010.

Prachanda calls on students to turn into 'militias': Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda on December 10 said that it is high time for all universities and colleges of the country to turn into "barracks" and students to become "militias" to fight conspiracies against change. "It is necessary for the universities and campuses of the country to start preparing to turn into barracks for hundreds of thousands of students who turn into militias to deal a final blow," Prachanda said after inaugurating the 18th National Convention of All Nepal National Independent Students' Union–Revolutionary (ANNISU-R), the student wing of the UCPN-M. Nepal News, December 11, 2010.

[South Asia Intelligent Review]

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