People’s Movement through Ballots in Nepal
People’s Movement through Ballots in Nepal
By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar
The election for a Constituent Assembly (CA) held on April 10, 2008 is one of the probably concluding quiet movements of the Nepalese People to sep up a democratic republic of Nepal. Up until the election for a CA, the leaders and rulers have been monopolizing the power and serving the interest groups bypassing the people in general. This election is a significant lesson to all leaders wishing to learn from their past mistakes. Nepalis have clearly voted for democracy and republic in this election, and for crafting a new constitution of a federal democratic republic Nepal.
The Nepali Congress (NC), the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist and Leninist (CPN-UML), smaller left parties, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and its two splinter parties and the Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP) were routed in this election.
Nepalese people have totally rejected the monarchists and shady leaders. Nepalis did not want those monarchist leaders such as Surya Bahadur Thapa, Pashupati Shumsher JB Rana, Kamal Thapa and so on of the RPP, Khadga Prasad Oli of the CPN-UML in the CA. Similarly, they did not vote for the monarchists of the NC, too. Therefore, the leaders of the Girija Prasad Koirala circle were routed in this election, as they were for saving the monarchy in one way or another although the NC lately removed the constitutional monarchy from its party statute. Leaders such as Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prakash Man Singh, Dhayan Govinda Ranjit and Bimalendra Nidhi of the Ganesh Man Singh circle have won the election. Nepalis also boycotted all the tainted leaders such as Madhav Kumar Nepal of the CPN-UML, rejected all unscrupulous leaders such as Chiranjivi Wagle, Khum Bahadur Khadga, and Govinda Raj Joshi of the NC, and Bam Dev Gautam, Ishwor Pokharel, Pradip Nepal and so on of the CPN-UML.
One of the main reasons for the defeat of the NC and the CPN-UML is let the Young Communist League (YCL) members continue their activities of bullying the cadres of other political parties anticipating such activities will damage the image of the CPN-Maoist and will be the reason for the defeat of the CPN-Maoist in the election for a CA. However, it did not happen. From the overwhelmingly votes the CPN-Maoist’s candidates have received, we might conclude that the YCL activities have not significantly adversely affected the CPN-Maoist in this election.
Nepalis have voted for the young generation leaders and republican leaders. Nepalese voters have overwhelmingly voted for the youth leaders such as Prakash Man Singh, Dhayan Govinda Ranjit, Shashankta Koirala and Narahari Acharya of the NC, youth leaders of almost all other parties except for Narayan Man Bijukchhe of the Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party (NWPP), and Sher Bahadur Deuba of the NC. Nepalis have specifically voted for the republican leaders such as Narahari Acharya of the NC. NC Leader Narahari Acharya have traveled all over Nepal to mobilize the NC cadres in favor of making Nepal a republic during the period when the NC leaders were polarized into pro-republic and pro-monarchy. Ultimately, his group won and forced the NC to remove the constitutional monarchy from its statute. All the elected candidates of the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) were federalists and republican. Almost all Maoists’ candidates elected to the CA are young and energetic. They have been fighting for making Nepal a republic since 1996.
Nepalis have voted for peace and stability in this election. Nepalese people have seen the atrocities committed on the innocent people in the people’s war for ten years. Many innocent Nepalis became the victims of the State Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Many of them lost their lives but many more suffered from the loss of the loved ones. Both the State Army and the PLA had made many Nepalis forced disappearance. So, Nepalis did not want the repetition of such a war. They voted for the ongoing peace process in this election, as this election for a CA is a part of the peace process the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) and the CPN-Maoist have jointly launched after the defeat of the regressive forces.
This election sets the political stability, as the people’s representatives will craft a constitution of Nepal with the provision for the people’s say in the state affairs. Nepalis have already lived under seven constitutions but all of them are not people’s constitutions but given to the Nepalese people without considering the people’s aspiration for the say in the state affairs.
This election is the completion of the Maoists’ rebellion and their peaceful entrance into the mainstream politics of the multi-party democracy. The Maoists’ entrance into the mainstream politics has started with the signing of the 12-point understanding reached with the SPA on November 22, 2005. They jointly tore down the administration of the regressive force in April 2006, and then they signed the ‘Comprehensive Peace Agreement’ on November 08, 2006, wrote an Interim Constitution and scrapped the Constitution of Nepal of 1990 after implementing the Interim Constitution and forming an Interim Legislature-parliament on January 15, 2007. The CPN-Maoist joined the Interim Government on April 01, 2007. The government was supposed to hold an election for a CA in May 2007 but postpone it to July and then to November 2007, and finally held on April 10, 2008. The Maoists have won the majority votes in this election, and are going to lead the CA in crafting a new constitution of Nepal, and making Nepal a federal democratic republic. Thus, the Maoists’ entrance into the multi-party democratic process completes in Nepal.
Nepalis have expressed their aspiration for a drastic change in the state governance through this election for a CA. They did not believe that the old generation leaders of the parliamentary parties would bring any changes in the state affairs. So, they rejected them in this election. The drastic changes should be for rule of law, good governance, clean administration and the end of the culture of anybody breaking laws with impunity. The 240-year of the exclusive dynastic administration had set the culture of the rulers breaking the laws with impunity. Laws have been for the innocent Nepalese people only up until now; the shrewd people and the rulers have been always above the laws and have broken those laws and rules for their advantage with impunity.
Nepalis must have overwhelmingly responded the call of the Maoists for changes in the lives of the Nepalese people. ‘Power to the people and inclusive administration’ is the main slogan of the CPN-Maoist; Nepalese voters must have responded to this call and voted for the Maoists overwhelmingly in the election for a CA on April 10, 2008. They say that they have been fighting for the poor, underprivileged, excluded people and women. They have fielded more women, underprivileged (dalits), and ethnic people than other political parties in this election.
The CPN-Maoist has gained majority in this election, so it will have a major say in crafting a new constitution and running the government. So, logically thinking Nepalis will anticipate the CPN-Maoist members of the CA will follow the commitment paper it has published before the election. Nepalis will keep the track of their activities whether or not they have been following the commitment paper in crafting a new constitution. The Maoists should not make the rich people poor but make all people rich. They need to make public service delivery smooth and ease the supply of petroleum products immediately. They also need to discipline the vehicle drivers and smooth the traffic all over Nepal.
The Article 44 under the Chapter 5 of the Interim
Constitution says that the executive power, formation of
council of ministers and other related matters shall be
pursuant to the provision made in this chapter with
necessary changes. The Article 38 (1) of the Interim
Constitution says that the appointment of the Prime Minister
and formation of council of minister shall be based on the
‘political consensus’ on it.
Explanation: ‘Political consensus’ means a consensus of the political parties such as NC, CPN-UML, NC-D, People’s Front Nepal, Nepal Sadbhavana Party-Anandevi, NWPP, United Left Front on one side and the CPN-Maoist on another. The Article 38 (2) says if the two sides could not reach a consensus (on a government) then the two-third majority of the legislature-parliament shall elect the government. The current Interim Legislature-parliament shall cease to exist after the formation of the CA. Then, the CA will function as an Interim Legislature-parliament for two years of the period of crafting a new constitution. This period of writing a new constitution might be increased by six more months if so required.
No matter what government might be in the coming days, the CPN-Maoist might need to bear a greater responsibility, as Nepalese voters have given them a mandate to lead Nepal to a correct track. They need to take political responsibility for crafting a new responsibility, for good governance and for prompt service delivery if they want Nepalese people return them to power again in future.
The CPN-Maoist needs to learn the lesson from the minority government of the CPN-UML after the general election in 1994. At that time, Nepalis gave a mandate to the CPN-UML and the NC to form a coalition government, and lead the country to a new political direction. It would have been a grand coalition. These two political parties could have led Nepal to a prosperous country within ten years of the political innovation in 1990s but they wasted that golden opportunity and gave the way to the unscrupulous politicians of the past regime to dictate them during the ten years of their unscrupulous behavior. The CPN-UML repeated the same mistake not forming an electoral alliance with the CPN-Maoist for the CA election in 2008. So, the CPN-Maoist needs to form a grand alliance with all the political parties representing in the CA otherwise they might face the fate of the CPN-UML in the future. Soon, the NC will lose its luster and become a minor party, as it is a divided party, and it remains as the monarchist party. The CPN-UML has a good chance to emerge as a second largest party in the years to come if it formulates a correct political policy and strategy, and removes the remnants of the monarchists in his party.
The new government of the CPN-Maoist or the current government with some changes will need to implement the report prepared by the Rayamajhi Commission on the abuse of power during the People’s Movement in April 2006, and of the Mallik Commission during the People’s Movement in March-April 1990 and punished the culprits. It will be easier for such a coalition government to implement such reports.
Then, the new government needs to put the politicians convicted of corruption by the Special Court behind bars immediately, and take the administrative actions against corrupt state employees and unscrupulous businesspersons for tax evasion and bank loan defaults. Only a few large business houses are free from such business offenses.
The service delivery should be made as efficient as possible. All previous governments including the current government have been lethargic in service delivery. So, Nepalis have been suffering from the lack of water, power, fuel and other essential commodities, and delay in the official work. Nepalese people have been in a receiving end of service delivery without having any say in the quality of the state service delivery. Now, it should be corrected.
The first session of the CA shall declare the end of the Shah Dynastic Administration and declare Nepal a republic. The third amendment to the Interim Constitution on December 29, 2007 has declared Nepal a federal republic, and the first session of the CA shall endorse it. Thus comes to the end of the 240-year old Shah dynastic administration through the ballots in Nepal.