Monday, May 24, 2010

Struggle Continues Over Constituent Assembly

Report by Mukit N. Kattel.


Its now 3 pm, May 24 in Nepal (5:15 am eastern time in USA or Canada). The situation is largely the same as described the day before yesterday. The new developments are:

(1) the Maoist party has opposed the constitution amendment proposal of the ruling party filed at the Constituent Assembly (CA), 

(2) the 10 coalition partners of the Maoist party are firm in their stance that it is not worth extending the tenure of the CA until this government steps down to give room for a national consensus government, 

(3) as deadline for deciding whether to extend the term of the CA is approaching closer, more pressure has built from within the country to the government as well as to the Maoist party to act on the extension of the term of the CA. A straightforward statement from the prime minister and an indirect statement from the most prominent leader of the Nepali Congress (Mr. Ram Chandra Poudel) that the CA is the agenda of the Maoist has given the impression to the people that they are not sincere about the life of the CA and would do whatever is detrimental to it (such as no stepping down from the government). However, the small parties look sincerely to the CA as it has helped them to come to existence and would help maintain their existence and are putting pressure for extending the term.

The Maoist party has unanimously decided NOT to extend the term of the  CA until the government agrees to form a national consensus government by stepping down. The party has stated that it is in favour of extending the term of the CA but the adding of the term under current situation has no meaning.  A small portion of the Maoist leaders are thinking that the saving of the CA has more value to the people than making the prime minister step down. However, a large portion of the party leaders are thinking that there would be no value of the CA to the people as long as the regressive parties continue to capture the CA (the small parties are opportunist in nature and favour those who are in power). The future CA in the leadership of these regressive parties will neither let a progressive constitution to be passed nor let the Peoples' Liberation Army gain the national army status, nor anything of that nature. So long as the regressive forces are in the upper hand in power,  the Maoists will have to go the people for a revolt anyway whether they extend the term of the CA or not if they are sincere to the New Democratic revolution. However, in the case of the government's stepping down, there are greater chances (given the Maoist leaders do not repeat the earlier mistakes) that the Maoist party uses the CA for the potential New Democratic transition.

So the issue of extending the term of the CA before the stepping down of this government is heavily linked to commitment to New Democratic revolution and the Maoist party is expected to adhere to this sincerely .
The Maoist party would benefit from your views at this crucial time.

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