Every one’s feeling the pinch in a Kathmandu stalemate

Nepal is yet to draft its new democratic constitution, while the people’s elected National Constitutional Assembly which functions as its legitimate government is running out of time. After a power struggle when the Maoist Prime Minister, Pushpa

Kamal Dahal, then popularly called Prachanda had to step down, it was thought the UN over seen fragile peace process would come to an end. Yet with much haggling and deliberations, the Communist mainstreamer Madhav Kumar Nepal was able to stitch together enough support to make him Prime Minister and hold the peace process within hopeful shape.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is now calling for cooperation from his main rival, the opposition party Unified CPN (Maoist) led by Dahal the ex militant, to write the new constitution on time and to take the peace process to its logical conclusion.

Addressing the inaugural session of the 12th Standing Committee meeting of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) in the capital Kathmandu on Saturday, PM Nepal said, writing the new constitution on time and success of the peace process are priority areas of his government at present.

He stressed the need for unity among political parties to complete the mandated task.

He also expressed his belief that the political deadlock could be resolved very soon as the political parties have been attempting for a dialogue.

“In 2006 as a result of the unprecedented support and participation of our people and sympathetic moral support and co-operation from peace-loving people around the world, the historic People’s Movement of 2006 was a great success,” said PM Nepal referring to the democratic upsurge that recieved a public consensus to remove the Monarch and establish a democratic governing process.

He further said, “Constituent Assembly is actively engaged in the task of drafting a new constitution within the stipulated timeframe to sustain and safeguard the historic political gains made by the people during the last four years. The government is committed to take the peace process to its positive and meaningful conclusion at the earliest.”

Meanwhile the drafting of the new constitution has conceptual misgivings. While there is academic interest in having a federal system of governance, the issue had been what the basis of federalism is. The Nepalese society is broadly categorised into three major ethnic groups in terms of their origin: Indo-Nepalese, Tibeto-Nepalese and indigenous Nepalese. The early Indo-Nepalese are descendents from high caste Indian origin who fled Northern India from Moghul invasions. They are referred to as the most politically powerful ethnic group in Nepal society with land and economic power.

The issue of ethnicity has thus been a silent but potent factor in Nepali politics, urging PM Madhav Kumar Nepal’s political party the CPN (UML)’s Vice Chairman Bam Dev Gautam to say, his party is not in favour of restructuring the state along ethnic lines.

Speaking at a programme organised by the UML’s Solukhumbu-Kathmandu Samparka Manch in the capital, Gautam had said ethnicity-based federalism would not work in Nepal and that the UML has nevertheless never spoken of a model.

There should be a referendum if no political consensus emerges on the model of federalism, he had said.

Gautam had also said the new constitution needs to be adopted within the stipulated time and that the integration of Maoist combatants should be done before the promulgation of the statute.

Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal meanwhile has claimed the three-party high-level political mechanism (HLPM) is taking an initiative for a new government under the leadership of his party.

“The high-level mechanism has been taking initiative to form a Maoist-led national government. The peace process and drafting of new constitution will not be complete without the Maoists taking the lead,” Dahal had said while speaking at a blood donation programme in Pokhara on Saturday.

Promulgating the new constitution within the stipulated time is possible only if there is a Maoist-led government, Dahal had added with stress.

The Maoist strongman also argued that the current unnaturally formed government is not able to bring the peace process to a logical end and draft new the constitution.

The political stalemate is eating into the politics of Nepal and all contending political forces are trying to force each other to accept a compromise on their own terms. Every one’s feeling the pinch and no body wants to loose the conflict free status quo now prevailent in Nepal, almost 02 years for now, say political observers.

Edited from reports in nepalnews.com

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