Thursday, October 11, 2007

News Editorials: Another Mayhem Ahead in Nepal?

Observation: Secretaries’ appointment is based on the principle of inclusion?

The office of the prime minister and cabinet secretariat and the members of cabinet claimed that today’s secretaries appointments are based on the principle of inclusion. In this regard, one of the colleagues got opportunity to ask a member of minister council informally, who was very furious and disappointed with appointments as his recommendations were in dustbin.
Our colleague asked, “How your cabinet’s mates expressed that these appointments are based on the principal of inclusion?” He replied, “Inclusion means equal and respectful representation of each and every ethnic group in mainstream, as per their ethnic population ratio. Thus, these 8 parties have a remarkable inclusive representation, hence the officials appointed today as government secretaries are the active members of the concerned political parties, and they have also submitted their active membership transcript with huge supportive commitment to the concerned parties and leaders. It’s transparent that they are the political representative of 8 parties and their leaders except a few, as per the advocacy made by 8 parties, they signify whole nation, and they stand for the whole Nepal without having any authoritative consent or vote. Moreover, secretary’s composition also somehow balances ethnic and social titles, besides; they even have strong commendation from the top party brasses as their obedient and honest workers.
In addition, you should also know that Inclusion doesn’t care about senior or junior in any political or professional affairs, inclusion just consider multiparty political or utterly defined representation in Nepalese context, that preside over in today’s’ appointment. Therefore, it is factual and no-nonsense to shout that it is not based on the principal of inclusion; however we both are acknowledged of what happened and what would have been principally fair.
According to him major bases of appointments:
  1. Joint secretaries (senior or junior or performance appraisal doesn’t matter).
  2. Must hold the active membership transcript one of the persisting political parties.
  3. Financial and other French profitable commitments to the concerned political parties and leaders.
  4. Powerful recommendations from at least 10 members of interim parliament and 3 of cabinet.
  5. Special commitment for always “Yes men” and “Je Pani garchhu” for concerned parties and leaders.

Structure of Inclusion:
.... 16 secretaries have been automatically promoted from their posts of acting secretaries while three from Madhesi and one each from women and backward community with special provisions. Those who are promoted include Purna Prasad Kadariya, Shankar Prasad Koirala, Baman Prasad Neupane, Shyam Prasad Mainali, Arabinda Kumar Shrestha, Pyurushottam Ojha, Rameshwor Prasad Khanal, Chhabiraj Pant, Bhagwati Kumar Kafle, Baburam Acharya and Uday raj Sharma.
Similarly, Umakanta Jha, Lilamani Poudel, Balananda Poudel, Tana Sharma, Ramhari Aryal, Kishor Prasad Shah, Punya Prasad Sharma, Ram Kumar Shrestha, Sushil B Rana, Gyan Chandra Acharya, Brinda hada, Tej Bahadur Thapa, Ramsorobar Dube, Govinda Prasad Kushum, Dip Bahadur Swar and Shankar Prasad Pandey
have also been promoted to the post of secretaries.............

News Editorials: Another Mayhem Ahead in Nepal?
News editorials, from Nepal and abroad, suspect that Nepal may be headed toward another spell of political mayhem.

A sample of editorials follows. More editorials updates to follow on this page.

Poll vault
Nepali Times, From Issue #370 (12 October 07 - 18 October 07)
All is not lost. Despite the doom and gloom that followed the Maoist walkout of the government and the inability of the three main parties to prevent a poll postponement the door to resolution is still ajar.
The polls have been put off, not cancelled. It will probably be held within the year (2064, not 2007) which means April at the latest. The special session of parliament next week will have to agree on a compromise formula acceptable to hardliners in both the NC and Maoists: a pledge on republic and a commitment to hold elections by Chait. This time the parties will not want to make the embarrassing mistake of specifying an exact date.

That will save the day. But it won’t save the seven parties from the opprobrium of the Nepali people who feel the leaders they catapulted to power with the April Uprising are frittering it all away in endless and needless bickering. Across the country in FM talk shows and phone-ins, the people are blaming kangresis and Maoists for letting them down once more. Even so, the public is patient and understanding enough to see that a proper election is better than a flawed one which the Maoists boycott or disrupt.

Only in Nepal can you have a political development in which no one wins, everyone loses. The poll postponement hurts the UML because it was the only party that was ready to face voters. The NC probably hoped a delay will allow them to regroup in the tarai but that is unlikely because instability will breed more radical groups that will eat into its traditional vote bank. The Maoists got what they wanted, but they don’t fare any better in a postponed poll because they are unlikely to change their spots. Even the king doesn’t really gain much because it just prolongs the uncertainty about his future.

But the biggest losers are the Nepali people who feel cheated and let down. It will be very difficult for the parties to collectively win back that trust. The people also lose because they are the first to suffer from the instability and violence caused by extending the political transition. Already the tarai is at a standstill, there has been little movement along the East-West Highway between Dang and Jhapa for the past three weeks.

The poll postponement will encourage more groups using identity politics to gain recognition, and these fissiparous groups will only weaken an already feeble state.

But this is Nepal and we’ll probably muddle through with that inexplicable resilience that makes us overcome odds.

URL: http://www.nepalitimes.com/issue/370/Editorial/14036

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Katmandu Crisis
The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2007
Nepal's road to democracy has never run smooth, but soon we'll see if there's even a road at all. Parliament convenes today to discuss the political demands of the Maoists, who have brought the democracy process to a standstill. If the talks fail, the fragile peace that has held for nearly a year may be in jeopardy.

Nepal's fate matters not just for the well being of the Nepalese, but also for regional stability. Should the Maoists succeed in scuttling the country's democratic aspirations and seizing a larger role for themselves, Nepal risks becoming yet another dystopian dictatorship and home for international terrorism. Neighboring India fears that its own Maoist insurgency could be exacerbated as Nepal's rebels act up.

The current impasse is over the elections for a Constituent Assembly, a representative body that is supposed to, in turn, agree on a new constitution and set up a new government. The Maoists agreed to lay down their arms and participate in the process last November. But last month rebel leader Prachanda imposed new conditions, demanding an abolition of the monarchy and a system of proportional representation before moving ahead.
The political brinkmanship threatens to derail the entire electoral process. Politically, however, it's in the Maoists' interest to stall because they likely wouldn't do well in elections under the current system, a mix of proportional and first-past-the-post ballots. Their unpopularity stems partly from historical grievances -- they fought a civil war for a decade that killed more than 13,000 people. But they also haven't proven that they want to negotiate. "If the impasse continues, the current constitution will become a scrap of paper," Prachanda warned Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the Maoists have the brute force to back up their threats. Although the rebel army has turned over thousands of weapons to United Nations control, no one really knows how many guns are still out there. Violence and unrest continue across the country, and the Maoist-affiliated Young Communist League has been involved in beating up workers of rival parties and recently ransacked the printing presses of Kantipur Publication, Nepal's largest news group, allegedly over a labor dispute.

Meanwhile, the Nepalese people are the ones who are suffering the most. The southern plains of Terai are already awash in violence, with over 70 killed this year in caste- or religion-based clashes. A Nepali journalist was kidnapped on Friday in the restive region, allegedly by Maoists.

A weak central government has compounded these problems. Without a strong standing army, the central government has exerted little control over Terai, and is even having trouble ensuring fuel supplies to the capital, Katmandu. Its ineptitude has cost it the ability to win over former Maoist combatants, many of whom have not received the salaries promised in return for laying down their arms.

The Maoists and Nepal's seven other political parties have set out a political framework by which to move the democratization process forward. The Maoists' change of heart doesn't inspire confidence in their fidelity to free and fair elections. If Prachanda and his gang can't even hold true to their own agreements, how likely is it that they will be willing to bow to the will of the people and accept the results of a national vote?

URL: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119205227981055114.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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Clear the cloud
The Kathmandu Post, (Independent daily), October 10, 2007
The four-day-long UML deliberation left the second largest political party open to a referendum on the monarchy, proportional representative electoral system and declaring the country a republic through parliament. Many leftists within the UML have argued that "such an open-ended policy is an attempt to bring the Maoists into the political mainstream". This means the UML has taken a flexible stance: It is eager to go for the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls. In other words, the UML wants to call the shots. It can change its stance as the time demands. On the flip side, the NC central working committee meeting, held two days after the SPA government deferred the CA poll, has reiterated its earlier stance: Mixed electoral system and the issue of republic to be decided by the first meeting of the CA according to the understanding reached between the SPA and the Maoists before the latter joined the interim government.

The UML and the NC are apparently natural allies shouldering the responsibility of restoring peace and democracy. Both have demonstrated flexibility and nurtured democratic values. Unlike the Maoists who have flouted the pacts signed in the run-up to the formation of the interim government, both have stuck to their political commitment. So, both the parties will be held responsible if the peace process is derailed. Blaming the Maoists for the deferral of the CA poll will only weaken the SPA's strength. The Maoists, being an undemocratic party, cannot imagine coming to power through the electoral process. From the day they pledged to join mainstream politics, they have been struggling to establish a communist regime. The UML, therefore, should be aware that joining hands with the Maoists will jeopardize the peace process and the holding of the CA poll.

Prachanda's warning that the alliance could break in the wake of disagreement on diverging political issues spreads a chill of apprehension. The Maoists are hell bent on waging an urban guerrilla war to capture power. Prachanda's demand for a proportional representative electoral system and the declaration of a republic before the CA polls is an indication that the entire peace process is at stake. The Maoists have refused to budge on their conditions, which underline the fact that they do not believe in competitive politics. The special session of parliament beginning October 11 must give a way out of the current impasse. The participation of the Maoists in the CA poll is, of course, important. But the way they have taken advantage of the country's fragile political situation is misdirecting its political course. The special session must, therefore, clear the cloud hovering over the CA poll - whether the Maoists genuinely want open politics or they still dream of establishing a communist state.

URL: http://www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=125161

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Renewed Calls For Polls
The Rising Nepal, (A government-run daily), October 8, 2007
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has expressed displeasure over the postponement of the Constituent Assembly polls scheduled for November 22 and prevailed upon the parties to fix a new date for the elections to ensure that the democratic exercise is not deferred for an uncertain length of time. The dismay conveyed by the UN chief is obviously very natural and pertinent in the sense that the UN has been at the centre facilitating the peace-building process in the country. The United Nations has been extending unqualified support to the process of holding the polls to the Constituent Assembly in Nepal. The world body has established its full presence in Nepal. It has been backstopping and overseeing peace building and the democratisation process in the country. The UN chief Ban Ki Moon has always evinced keen interest in the peace and democratisation process in Nepal. At one end, the UN is involved in verification of the Maoist combatants to pave the way for their demobilisation and integration into the Nepal Army.

The global organisation has been putting its weight behind making the polls to the Constituent Assembly a success. It needs to be mentioned that the UN has been consistently helping the country to ensure that the election to the Constituent Assembly was held during November and a democratic and peaceful Nepal was constructed. UN voter education specialists have been at work to assist the Election Commission in designing and implementing a strategy for empowering the Nepali electors to make informed choices in the polls. Moreover, the UN has set up an advisory unit to provide technical and intellectual resources in the process of framing a new democratic constitution in the country. All these efforts and initiatives would yield no results should the political uncertainty and confusions continue in the country. It is expected that the political actors work in concert to warrant that the democratic scheme of holding the polls to the Constituent Assembly to decide about the constitutional design of the nation was not jeopardised. As appealed by the chief of the world body, the Nepalese political parties are under an obligation to assure that the polls to the Constituent Assembly was held soon to lend new credence to the democratic dispensation in the country.

URL: http://www.gorkhapatra.org.np/content.php?nid=28285

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United they stand
The Himalayan Times, Independent daily, October 8, 2007
Following the postponement of the constituent assembly (CA) elections, for a second time, scheduled for November 22, the seven political parties are trading accusations and counter-accusations in an attempt to pin down responsibility. Political outfits outside the alliance are blaming the seven parties or the leadership of the interim government. Powerful countries and organisations have expressed their unhappiness at the postponement. At home, the people appear to be disappointed, confused and uncertain about the future course of Nepali politics. While questions are being raised about Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s leadership failure and suggestions made for his stepping down, Nepali Congress general secretary Dr Ram Baran Yadav has said there is ‘no alternative’ to Koirala’s leadership, because ‘there is none other than Koirala capable of resolving the present crisis’. Yadav has put the blame for the deferral on all the seven parties.

CPN-UML leaders have accused the ‘old and ineffectual’ leadership of the Congress as well as the intransigence of the Maoists for the deferral, criticising both for letting the big opportunity to hold the CA polls slip by. The CPN-UML, the Janamorcha Nepal, and the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party had registered their note of dissent against the decision. Their and others’ worry about the CA polls, which have eluded the Nepalis for the past 57 years, is understandable, and their fears of a repetition of history cannot just be brushed aside. In this context, however, the view that just a change of leadership of the government cannot end the crisis has some truth to it, because it is rather the settlement of the issues that matters. That being said, moral responsibility weighs heavy; moreover, none of the seven political parties can lay a natural claim to this leadership role. But as the people have given the seven parties the mandate to steer the country’s transition, it is they again who should resolve this question collectively.

As the legislature-parliament convenes in a special session this Thursday to discuss and decide on the Maoist demands for outright declaration of a republic and switchover to full proportional representation, there is still time for the seven parties to save the situation by arriving at a consensus. Indeed, to this end, Koirala has continued consultations with the top leaders of the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist. More serious problems will come up if the parliament fails to find a way out. Admittedly, the poll postponement has given the forces of regression a breather, as the historic opportunity to decide the fate of the monarchy has been delayed, too. They had been jolted by the recent Congress decision to go republican. Fissures in the seven-party alliance will only strengthen these forces, and give them more time and opportunities for mischief. To keep them at bay, and bring the political transition to a logical conclusion in line with the mandate of Jana Anolan II, the seven parties need to make their unity rock-solid. The issues that led to the poll postponement should not be allowed to weaken it further.

URL: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullstory.asp?filename=aEUata0seqzpba2a8a1a9a.axamal&folder=aEUaiFaoaraiaaal&Name=Editorial&sImageFileName=&dtSiteDate=20071008

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Who’s smiling in Nepal?
Khaleej Times Online, 7 October 2007
THERE’S little wonder that the political process in Nepal is back in a limbo, thanks to the failure on the part of the politicians to pull themselves together. The decision to indefinitely postpone the constituent assembly elections is fresh proof that politicians are unwittingly playing into the hands of the monarchy, and some are even taking pleasure in reversing the pro-people, pro-democracy trend there.

The move by the seven-party coalition government to call a “special session” of the parliament to discuss the demands raised by Maoists is in itself a proactive step, but, the end result, as is already seen, is the dragging of the poll dates, and eventual delay in effecting the constitutional changes necessary for the smooth progress of the democratic process in the Himalayan kingdom. The Maoists are aggressive in their postures and in their insistence that the abolition of the monarchy, a cause to which the political parties are openly wedded, should be immediate. They have a point in as much that there already are perceptible signs of sabotage from within the political establishment to the common cause.

What could be done now effortlessly might not be possible tomorrow. Foot-dragging might be the name of the game; and Nepal’s politicians are not known for their commitment to people’s causes, anyway. If anything, the political set-up there has been a byword for inefficiency and corruption, if past record is any indication.
It’s clear who’s smiling in Nepal now. The failure of the politicians was what had helped King Gyanendra to grab power from people’s representatives, for a period, leading, however, to a national upheaval, rare forging of unity between the political parties and the Maoist rebels, and eventual retreat by the king from the seats of administration a year ago. The calling of the times, today, is that the politicians must demonstrate an increased sense of responsibility to the people, and not let go of the golden opportunity that had arisen out of the unity they had forged with the Maoists.

Peace and prosperity are what the Nepalese are craving for. The politicians must pay heed and mend their ways.

URL: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2007/October/editorial_October14.xml§ion=editorial&col=

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Nepal's Naysayers
The Times of India, 22 Sep 2007
The Maoists' decision to walk out of the interim government sets the clock back for Nepal's fragile democracy. Yes, the Maoist leadership has promised to press its demands peacefully. But the veiled threat to disrupt the polls scheduled in November to elect a constituent assembly doesn't augur well for the country. It is not clear why the Maoists have resorted to brinkmanship. There is speculation that it could be a fallout of differences within the party.

The G P Koirala government had agreed to most of the demands the Maoists raised in August. The point of departure was the call to declare Nepal a republic even prior to the constituent assembly. The Maoists should have desisted from pressing this demand since it was agreed in November last year that the constituent assembly would decide on such matters. The process to conduct elections to the assembly under international supervision is already on.

The Maoists' move to change track midway without giving tenable reasons raises questions about their commitment to democracy. Even though the Nepalese monarchy is dead for all practical purposes, an elected constituent assembly is the right body to announce the transformation of the country from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. A nominated interim government does not command such legitimacy.

The discredited king does not presently pose a challenge to Nepal's democracy. But another spell of political anarchy can destroy whatever is left of Nepal's economy and erode people's trust in democracy. Pakistan and Bangladesh have undergone similar phases and are the worse for it. The Maoists should realise their centrality to the democratic process in Nepal and act responsibly. The Maoists adopted multiparty democracy as a strategy sometime ago. The international community is watching if they would be true to the assertion.

New Delhi has much at stake in Kathmandu. There is apprehension that things could go out of control and lead to movement of people and arms across the border. Maoists in India are not enthused with the political line of Prachanda. The collapse of the consensus in Nepal should be to the liking of Indian Maoists and detrimental to peace in the subcontinent. New Delhi should prevail upon Prachanda and his colleagues to facilitate the constituent assembly.

URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-2391480,prtpage-1.cms

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[Note: The above editorials are lifted from the websites of respective newspapapers. If you own copyright to the above texts and would not like us to excerpt them, please email us at contact@nepalmonitor.com and we will immediately remove them from our website]

Posted by Editor on October 11, 2007 12:12 PM
http://www.nepalmonitor.com/2007/10/news_editorials_another_mayhem_ahead_in_nepal-print.html

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