Monthly Archives: December 2007

For Prachanda, Nepal With King In Palace Is A Republic

Maoist Supremo Prachanda today claimed that a new era has begun with the ‘legitimate end of the monarchy’. Referring to yesterday’s decision of the interim parliament, the Maoist Chairman added that now a new era had dawned with the end of the monarchy.

[Maoists submit names of its ministers: read here]

Third Amendment of Interim Constitution Clears Deck for Republic

The Interim Parliament yesterday passed a third amendment to the Interim Constitution, stating that Nepal would become a federal democratic republic after the Constituent Assembly poll. Parliament amended Article 159 of the constitution. The amendment reads: “Nepal will be a federal democratic republic.” The amendment also says the decision would be enforced by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.” The amendment provides for parliament, through a two-third majority, to abolish the monarchy before the CA poll if the government is convinced that the king is conspiring against the poll. The amendment also formally transfers the position of head of state to the prime minister.

The constitution promulgated on January 16, 2007 was amended for the first time in March following a month-long Madhes movement, and for a second time on June 13 after the government’s failure to hold CA polls by mid-June.

Only three members- Pashupati Shumsher Rana and Krishna Pratap Malla of Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Pari Thapa of CPN (United)- voted against the proposal. Four members, two each from Rastriya Janashakti Party and Sadbhavana Party, boycotted the voting.

Amendment draws flak

“Constituent Assembly elected through fresh a mandate of the people is the only body that can exercise the people’s sovereign power,” said Rastriya Janashakti Party Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa. “If this crucial decision is taken by the seven parties then where does sovereignty rest on?” He also warned of severe consequences because of SPA’s authoritarian attitude. (read here more about the amendment)

[This blog was posted yesterday]

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While King Gyanendra Is Still Inside the Palace, Comrade Prachanda Says Monarchy Is Abolished

Maoist Supremo Prachanda today claimed that a new era has begun with the ‘legitimate end of the monarchy’. Referring to yesterday’s decision of the interim parliament, the Maoist Chairman added that now a new era had dawned with the end of the monarchy.

Third Amendment of Interim Constitution Clears Deck for Republic

The Interim Parliament yesterday passed a third amendment to the Interim Constitution, stating that Nepal would become a federal democratic republic after the Constituent Assembly poll. Parliament amended Article 159 of the constitution. The amendment reads: “Nepal will be a federal democratic republic.” The amendment also says the decision would be enforced by the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.” The amendment provides for parliament, through a two-third majority, to abolish the monarchy before the CA poll if the government is convinced that the king is conspiring against the poll. The amendment also formally transfers the position of head of state to the prime minister.

The constitution promulgated on January 16, 2007 was amended for the first time in March following a month-long Madhes movement, and for a second time on June 13 after the government’s failure to hold CA polls by mid-June.

Only three members — Pashupati Shumsher Rana and Krishna Pratap Malla of Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Pari Thapa of CPN (United) — voted against the proposal. Four members, two each from Rastriya Janashakti Party and Sadbhavana Party, boycotted the voting.

Amendment draws flak

“Constituent Assembly elected through fresh a mandate of the people is the only body that can exercise the people’s sovereign power,” said Rastriya Janashakti Party Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa. “If this crucial decision is taken by the seven parties then where does sovereignty rest on?” He also warned of severe consequences because of SPA’s authoritarian attitude. (read here more about the amendment)

A Chance Encounter With a Maoist Commissar

It is notable that two years ago, before the ceasefire, the Maoists did not have any presence at all in Mustang due to the Royal Nepal Army’s occupation of a high foot suspension bridge below Ghasa that serves as the only entrance to the district below 5000 meters. Now the Maoists had a large visible office in Jomsom.

By Neil Horning

Six months ago I contracted a tropical disease that caused persistent diarrhea and severe weight loss which was misdiagnosed for about 5 months. My parents were planing on simply visiting me in Nepal, but when they met me I weighed 60 kilo, looked like a holocaust victim, and projectile vomited out of the taxi ride from the airport. So, they bought me a ticket to coax me home. I say this is to explain three things: Why I’m not in Nepal right now, the context in which the interview this article is about took place, and why I felt it necessary to shake hands with Prachanda. I suppose I’m a bit like Ambassador Moriarty. It’s something I wanted to do before I left the country.

Prachanda shaking Neil's hand

At any rate, I got my health sorted out, and I was trekking in Mustang with my parents when we came upon Sam. Sam is wearing the Che Guevara hat in this photo here: Continue reading

Benazir Bhutto May Have Been Killed by Terrorists But They Must Not be Allowed to Kill Democracy in Pakistan

Bhutto Assassinated in Attack on Rally: The Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated near the capital, Islamabad, on Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto, who was appearing at a political campaign rally, was fired upon at close range by a gunman, and then struck by shrapnel from a blast that the government said was caused by a suicide bomber. (continue reading here)

Benazir Bhutto was a courageous woman who did not hide her ideas, did not know fear and served her country with courage. ISRAELI PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES

The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy. Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice. US PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH

More than ever it is necessary for the [Pakistani] legislative elections to… take place in conditions of pluralism, transparency and security. FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY

Benazir Bhutto may have been killed by terrorists but the terrorists must not be allowed to kill democracy in Pakistan and this atrocity strengthens our resolve that terrorists will not win there, here or anywhere in the world. UK PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

In her death the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country. INDIAN PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH

More:

(more international reactions)
Q&A: Benazir Bhutto assassination

19,602: Number of Maoist Guerillas in the Cantonment

United Nations Mission to Nepal (UNMIN) Chief Ian Martin organized a press meet today in his office in New Baneshwor, Kathmandu to disclose the total numbers of UNMIN verified Maoist guerillas inside the cantonments.

• The corrected number of personnel registered in the first phase was 31,318. 18,923 of these personnel were verified in the second phase as members of the Maoist army.
• An additional 932 persons who had not been registered in the first phase were presented for the verification process in the second phase. 679 of this total were verified as members of the Maoist army.
• 8,640 personnel did not appear for verification interviews in the second phase and were automatically disqualified.
• 4,008 persons remain to be discharged from cantonments after the total of absentees has been taken into account. 2,973 of this total were assessed to be under the age of 18 on 25 May 2006.
• The full total verified as members of the Maoist army is thus 19,602, comprising 15,756 men and 3,846 women.

Below is a press statement read out by Ian Martin, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in front of journalists on 27 December 2007

We have distributed the statement of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued yesterday in New York, welcoming the 23-point agreement reached by the Seven-Party Alliance. I myself already had the occasion to express an initial welcome for the agreement when we honoured members of the Interim Task Force in this building on Monday. Let me reiterate that welcome today. The parties to Nepal’s peace process asked for the assistance of the United Nations with a view to creating a free and fair atmosphere for the election of the Constituent Assembly, and the seven parties have now committed themselves to achieving this for an election before the end of the current Nepali year. Fulfilling this commitment is central to consolidating Nepal’s peace process and moving forward with the democratic transition. Continue reading

Nepal a Republic? Not Yet. Cool Down Comrades. Don't Party!

I am shocked, genuinely shocked, to see the Maoists partying and celebrating yesterday’s 23-point deal by equating that to the declaration of a republic.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

Almost 98 days after the Maoist ministers’ withdrawal from the cabinet, the Prime Minister today “accepted” their resignations. Prachanda has said that the party will send another set of leaders in the cabinet within 48 hours. In these wasted 98 days, we have lost the opportunity to hold the CA election and declare Nepal a republic through the peoples’ verdict. And it was all symbolic: the resignations of the Maoist ministers, pending and approval of those resignations. We all knew even after quitting the portfolios, Maoists were in fact running the ministries that were assigned to them in April. Continue reading

Maoists Got What They Wanted: "Roundtable Conference!"

The Latest: SPA seal 22-point agreement, Maoists to rejoin govt (read here)

maoist chairman prachanda Emerging from the interaction, CPN Maoist Chairman Prachanda told reporters (pic) that the conference was in fact the roundtable conference his party had been demanding.
-a news report.

>>>Interesting remarks by the comrade! So that was what all Maoist hue and cry of round table conference about? According to reports, an interaction program was organized this afternoon that was attended by a handful of ‘prominent’ civil society members and Seven-Party Alliance leaders. During the interaction civil society personalities urged the SPA to stand united to hold the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections within the current Nepali year (mid-April 2008). Senior leaders of the major factions of the SPA who took part in the interaction program said that they took the suggestions positively.

A meeting of the top SPA leaders was slated for today afternoon at the PM’s official residence at Baluwatar to finalise the outstanding political issues. Sensing that the “authoritarian” SPA leaders were using them just to keep them as witnesses to unilateral decisions (or rather fulfill the Maoists demand of organizing the so called roundtable conference in the name of interaction), chairman of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Pasang Sherpa walked out of the interaction.

But I think if the interaction makes Maoists happy, it’s fine. What’s the problem is giving a weeping child a sweet if that makes him happy. Today’s interaction is just a chocolate for the Maoists. We all know the real shots will be called by the SPA leaders themselves which is okay if they indeed decided to patch up and take the country out of this current deadlock and lead us towards elections.

Nepal Politics: Finally, a New Agreement?

The CA elections under the mixed electoral system:
60 percent of the 601-member CA will be elected under the proportional representation system and rest under first-past-the-post system.

A conference of the civil society will be organized to save face of the Maoists.

A steering committee will be formed to run the government, who will lead the body remains undecided. Maoists are demanding that they be give the leadership of the committee.

The news is that the top leaders of the three major parties of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) have finalised the draft prepared by a taskforce (of SPA representatives) to evolve a 20-point agreement to address major contentious issues, including the electoral system for the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections. Prime Minister and the Nepali Congress (NC) President Girija Prasad Koirala, CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and CPN Maoist Chairman Prachanda had met at the PM’s official residence at Baluwatar today morning to find an outlet to the festering political predicaments. The three leaders have also agreed to express commitment for a republican order in the interim constitution, which is to be endorsed by the elected CA. Continue reading

Headlines: Political Deadlock, Human Rights and Elections

Nepali Congress folks aiding monarchy will be punished: Sushil Koirala

Dec 21 – NC Acting Prez warned to punish the NC leaders and activists who do activities in support of monarchy against the party discipline. Stating that some of the party activists were active in royalist activities, Koirala said that such activities were against the party discipline. Even if the seven parties agreed to hold the Constituent Assembly polls by mid-April, the Maoists were trying to disrupt the polls on various pretexts, Koirala added. (detail)

Prachanda meets PM Koirala; SPA meeting tomorrow

Dec 21- The discussion between the duo revolve around the contentious issues, among others, ministry allocation between NC and the Maoists, formation of a steering committee for running the government, implementation of republic, electoral system, army integration, said NC General Secretary Bimalendra Nidhi who was also present in the meeting. The top leadership held the discussion to forge an agreement on the contentious issues after the Maoist leadership expressed dissatisfaction in the draft of agreement prepared by the Seven-Party-Alliance taskforce. (detail)

NHRC starts investigating suspected burial sites in Shivapuri

Dec 21 – The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with the assistance of forensic and crime scene experts from the police has begun investigation at the Shivapuri National Park, a suspected mass grave site on the outskirts of Kathmandu on Friday. Human rights organizations believe that the pieces of clothing, charred wood, sacks and bits of tire and white plastic, which have been found scattered on the slopes of Alle jungle in Shivapuri National Park, some 20 kilometers north of downtown Kathmandu, may lead to the truth surrounding the 49 Maoists who were allegedly disappeared by the army from its Bhairabhnath Battalion at Maharajgunj in 2003 during the time of conflict. (detail)

Related UWB posts:
1. Stories of Horror: From Nepal’s Abu Ghrahib-I
2. Stories of Horror: From Nepal’s Abu Ghrahib-II
3. Forgive, Forget Not!

Continue reading

Background Info for Shall UNMIN Succeed in Nepal?

UWB at blog.com.np is back
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Background information for the post: Shall UNMIN Succeed in Nepal?

By Conflict Study Center

The conflict of Uganda, Angola, Namibia, Sudan, Congo, etc. has been the bloodiest in the history post-World War II where about 5 million people died, resulting in a situation where estimates towards 1000 people a day are still dying due to causes and consequence of those conflict forming a “make or break point” for the continuing humanitarian crisis [1].

The most violent conflicts of the twentieth century during ‘cold-war’ era were waged between the states, but in post-cold war, almost all the major conflicts around the world were fought within the states. Among these internal conflicts, only one-fifth of these are internationalized outside states. However, the frequency and intensity of the volatile internal conflicts are significantly intensifying in number around the world [2]. Between 1989 and 1996, 95 of the 101 armed conflicts identified around the world were such internal confrontations [3]. Describing the intensity of the violent conflicts around the world, Bishnu Raj Upreti writes: “In 1999 there were 40 armed conflicts being fought within the territories of 36 countries, up from 36 armed conflicts in 31 countries in 1998, and 37 in 32 countries in 1997″ [4]. Professor Peter Wallensteen of Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University stated that in 2004, there were 30 active armed conflicts, up by one from 2003. While seven of the conflicts from 2003 are no longer active, seven conflicts broke out – three with action taken by new rebel groups and four by earlier recorded actors. However, most of the government and armed groups often receive support from neighboring states rather than other rebel groups. Continue reading