Can Parliament Declare Constituent Assembly?

Whether Constituent Assembly with or without a Condition

By Surendra Bhandari
Lawyer, in Japan

The country is still undergoing through a volatile political situation. The political changes induced by the people’s movement followed by King’s declaration for the restoration of the House of Representatives on April 24th 2006 has unfurled immense opportunities to move ahead but the path is still full of challenges and risks. The issue of whether a constituent assembly should be with or without condition has become a center of the political dynamics in the country.
Maoist has declared cease fire with a hope that the Parliament shall declare constituent assembly without any precondition. Many civil society leaders have also asked the same thing. All the political leaders of the SPA have confirmed that constituent assembly will be the single most priority agenda item of the (to be restored) Parliament. But they have not yet declared whether it will be with or without a precondition. Indeed, the leaders are at altar now. If they succeed, they come off with a light and become able to enlighten the society otherwise there is a risk that they will burn out the fire of the altar. If they fail that will be a big boomerang both for the democratic process in the country as well as to the leaders.

A number of questions arise in this context. The first question is: can Parliament alone declare constituent assembly without consent or approval of the King? Can constituent assembly be declared within the framework of the constitution without amending it? Should the amendment be approved of by the King? Above all, the most important question is that can there be a constituent assembly without any preconditions (grund norms)?

Let us briefly examine each of these issues.

Can there be a constituent assembly without any preconditions?

This is not only a political question but importantly a constitutional issue, if one looks this question from only political angle and interest the answer might be very much ad hoc, emotional and unproductive to the country.

Constitutionally speaking, even imagining an original position (in Rawl’s terminology) the contractors assemble bearing a purpose in their mind for setting a just and fair system where they will be secured and their progress is guaranteed. Dignity, security and happiness are not compromised even in the original position. We are not in an original position. The Parliament is deciding constituent assembly in a complex social, political and constitutional backdrops. Parliament is the supreme legitimate authority in the country but it cannot deny basic original positioning of citizens that are found in human rights and fundamental freedoms. In other words, Parliament cannot assume authority to deny democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Democracy is the foundational stone of constitutionalism, where from authority, legitimacy and validity emerge.

Against this background, the Parliament has no right to announce constitutional assembly without recognizing democracy as a basic form of governance in the country. It cannot leave the country into a future that is full of uncertainties. If the constituent assembly is not for institutionalizing democracy in the country it impudently violates primary rules (legitimacy) and the secondary rules (enforceable rules) and the result will be indistinguishable from any form of absolutism and anarchy. Maoist must understand these basic values. If they are still intransigent they should be under a fit of violence upholding animosity towards democracy. But conscience of any reasonable Nepali now believes that the Maoist knows the basic rules of the game and accepts democracy as the foundational stone of future framework of the Nepalese society. Maoist should not betray the conscience of the Nepalese people.

Recalling the people’s movement and its euphoria one cannot deny the fact that the movement was for liberal democracy in the country. It was not for uncertainty. The Parliament is restored by the people for democracy and nothing else but for democracy. The people found the past constitutional structure a faulty one and have demanded new constitution to be framed by their meaningful participation – constituent assembly. This political reality does not support any logic or argument for a constituent assembly without democracy as its fundamental principle or constitutionalism.

Unconditional constituent assembly should have one practical meaning – the contents of democracy should be open and the people alone can decide the content and structure of democracy. We believe the Maoist demand is for content openness and not for denial of democracy itself. If Maoist does not prevaricate from the fundamental truth there should be no bickering for accepting democracy as the gurnd norm of constituent assembly. When one looks the practices of constituent assembly around the world, one can easily notice that no constituent assembly is purposeless or castigated for absence of underneath principles.
Talking from the political geometry of the country, the country is still a monarchical one. It is still not a republic one despite the popular euphoria in the country. The fact is that King is a head of the state. The borderline of democracy is rules following – rules based practice.

Therefore, in the present context, the constituent assembly cannot be declared by Parliament alone but the King should declare it. If the Parliament declares a republican state first and then declares constituent assembly it may be a different case otherwise until the King remains as a head of the state the constituent assembly cannot be declared alone by the Parliament. When King has to declare the constituent assembly he definitely seeks his stake. If it is to be denied, there should be a preparation for a final fight between the King and the people. It again leads the country into another cycle of revolution and counter revolution. To be emotional is one thing and to be hardheaded is another thing. Now, only a dispassionate and hardheaded move of the Parliament can rescue the country from recurrence of violence and conflict in the country.

In this context, Parliament should start exercise to have an agreement between the King, Maoist and SPA for building and accepting fundamental principles of constituent assembly before declaring it. Work though noble can be may not bring result at haste. Accept Democracy and Ceremonial Monarchy as the basic fundamental principles of constituent assembly because that only has prospects for moving ahead, avoiding cycles of violence and conflict. Don’t define the contents of Democracy and Ceremonial Monarchy, let the people define them. This can only mean for unconditional constituent assembly.

Dr. Surendra Bhandari is a lawyer, currently working as a think-tank in the United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies, Japan.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

37 thoughts on “Can Parliament Declare Constituent Assembly?

  1. Unconditional CA is not possible.
    There should atleast be a condition that all the outcomes will be a democratic system.There should be no option such an autocratic system.
    The CA election is for choosing the right form of democracy,not between democracy and autocracy(or communist rule).

  2. Why do you need a condition?
    People will choose their representatives based on the manifesto of party or an indivisual candidate. Then the representives will assemble and vote for different issues based on the draft prepared by renowned constitutional experts and lawyers. Why do you want to complicate matters?. Which party will go with absolute monarch and win the election or which party will go for communism i.e. one party dictatorship and win the election. I hope political parties will get together and make a consensus. There is no point to consult the king. It is the people’s representives who will decide the fate of the king. Do not bring the king here. If you ask the king he would prefer the absolute monarchy. No compromise with the king please. If everyparty including maoist are conviced to have a ceremonial king it is OK otherwise no.

  3. Wa, lawyer, you know whole thing but nothing. CA is and should be unconditional. People has the supreme authority. WHo makes laws? 1990 consitution is already dhoti lagyo, it is just for interim work. If you do mopre kach kach, we will make new interrim constitution. Just do not confuse us!

  4. …there should be a preparation for a final fight between the King and the people….

    Hello, last week end was the final fight and democracy has won. If king had won, we would have been under absolute monarchy now. The final fight was between autocracy and democracy and democracy has won, I repeat. Remember there will be no compromise with democracy, which was the essence of people’s movement. Since king things that he is popular, the CA will decide Nepal will be democratic republic or democracy with ceremonial king. No more no less.

  5. Dr Bhandari,
    Please remember people’s power (peaceful) is above law and above constitution which is the source of democracy. Nowhere in the world absolute monarchy and communism came by people’s power, it came by the force of gun. What we are establishing here is the democratic right of the people by the people.
    If you follow the rule in democracy:
    Can King reinstate parliament? It is the people who forced him to do.
    Can king fire elected govt and take over executive power? He did with military backing
    can he arbitraily rule?He did with military backing

  6. Comment No. 5 Gita writes:
    gita says:
    April 27th, 2006 at 9:10 pm

    Dr Bhandari,
    Please remember people’s power (peaceful) is above law and above constitution which is the

    source of democracy.

    I think I can support her “stat pro ratione voluntas populi;(the will of the people stands in place of the reason.”

    By the way, Is Mr. Bhandari the same guy who used to work as Asst. Professor in Nepal Law Campus and has written a Book on WTO published by Deep and publications, New Delhi?

  7. Good article actually. Raised a lot of burning questions. Of course there are many controversies regarding the role of the parliament and the constituent assembly and one wonders how it is going to happen, if it is ever going to happen.

    It seems like SPA is hiding behind the current constitution, they are using it to keep Maoists away for the time being. They are also giving the hints that they want to do everything according to the current constitution. Accepting the offer of reinstating the Parliament shows that SPA believes that it can call on the election for constituent assembly through the parliament. Sadly I agree with Dr. Bhandari here, it is not possible to do so without the prior agreement with the King. So at the end it all comes back to the dialogue between King and SPA.

    The main obstacle right now is the king. Nobody wants him, but SPA doesn’t have any options left to get rid of him. Maoists don’t trust SPA, SPA doesn’t trust Maoists, nobody trust King, King doesn’t trust anyone. Very difficult equation indeed and it makes clear how shaky the current SPA + Maoists coalition is.

    I am sure SPA are also looking for an option to get out of this mess without the election for constituent assembly. It can be done if they are sincere with Maoists and their demands. They can actually cut a deal with King by forming a constitutional council within the parliament and strip the King from all the power. They can modify the constitution where they will be able to get rid of the king by calling the referendum. It means the major change in the current constitution. If SPA plays it’s cards sound and take every advantage of the cornered King, King will have no options but to accept this moderate proposal. This of course depends a lot upon Maoists, and the trust that SPA is not going to fck them up this time : ) . So don’t be surprised if one day we will start to hear the word ‘constitutional council’ instead of constituent assembly.

  8. hey doc, (bhattarai)… read the artical 116 of 1990 constitution and you will know!

  9. I call upon the all senior leaders of the SPA to deligate new and fresh leaders to lead the nation. We need some fresh new leaders now! And it’s time for the senior leaders to show them the way and help run the nation. If they are able to do that, they will earn the people’s respect even more. We have to move on, and move ahead with new spirit, energy and
    ideas. And this doesn’t mean we have to discard the old ones, now is the time for the young leadership to carry the burden of moving the Nation to a new height. So, let them lead, and give them your support and expertise – if you do that, you have done good!

  10. I dont know if Dr. Bhandari is right (since I dont understand the legal jargon) or wrong but yes he has raised valid points bcoz KG will try to invoke laws.

    But again Dr. – I am a common man and I am people. I make laws of the land and I am the most powerful thing and all concepts of democracy, liberty etc etc originated from me. I have always prevailed in all revolutions around the world in the history of mankind. The point is – why cant I have unconditional CA ?? Am I so powerless that I need to get confused over the legal wrangles I myself created or somebody thrusted it upon me ?? I admit, there will always be people who will use it as a last resort but please do not undermine the people’s power. Even if we need to go through another round of struggle, we will. But we will have an unconditional CA since it is what we want.

    You seem to have a fine legal mind, but you forget your basics.

  11. Democracy Rocks!, true, i think now the people have set their weight in the platform, the leaders and the King are shit scared by them. I think things will take course for the new generation in time, let old hags clean the attic before they fall apart, its too dusty and dark for the new leaders to work there. The tide is turning, we have to be patient.

  12. The time three does not mean anything, if the MAOS find that SPA is not meeting their expectation they will uphold the arms again withing days.

  13. Democracy Rocks!, true, i think now the people have set their weight in the platform, the leaders and the G the K are pretty scared by them. I think things will take course for the new generation in time, let old hags clean the attic before they fall apart, its too dusty and dark for the new ones to work there. The tide is turning, we have to be patient.

  14. “The King on Monday reinstated the HoR as per the demand of the SPA, following the 19-day long general strike of SPA and nationwide protest programme.”- Nepalnews

    It was not as per the demand of the SPA SUCCKERS, as per the DEMAND OF THE PEOPLE. Leaders are just getting a chance they never deserved. They better make the best of it, once and for all. Or they are as dead as a stone people threw in the past couple of weeks.

  15. Hi Dear All

    Thanks for insightful inputs. I appreciate Glade’s point of view. Patriot is right arguing for unconditional CA because liberty, freedom, democracy all comes out of individual’s rights in society. Individual is the foundation of all these values. Why Patriot should accept CA conditionally? It is a genuine question. But I am also an individual as other fellow beings, who love democracy. Why should I (we) allow our Parliament to chart my future uncertain? I don’t want to live out of democracy, which is my fundamental human rights, why should I compromise this? We must not be open ended. The parliament has also one inherent limitation that is – it cannot betray democracy.

    Even, I am in favor of unconditional CA, personally. But look the political reality and geometry of the country. Until there is a King and he holds army. In a few days time, it will be proved that he will not be ready to accept unconditional CA. Likewise, it is a reality that there is Maoist, which is intransigent for unconditional CA. What the political parties should do? How they should take away this political puzzle. You all are right, King is not silent and the Maoist is not silent either. Both are taking positions. Who will be victimized if this riddle is not resolved? The people, it is a commonplace answer.

    Divest all the immunities, privileges, powers and authorities of the King, which the King is bound to accept otherwise he should be ready to face republic. The Maoist should transform themselves into political mainstream otherwise the conflict will be a trite. Joining political mainstream is the only option and face saving to the Maoist. They must know ideology has to do nothing with social change and development. Ideology cannot solve any social problems. If they are genuine to solve the social problem they must accept democracy as the form of government where from development trickles down.

    Due to these reasons, Democracy and Ceremonial Monarchy are the basic points that help solve the riddle. Don’t be confused, the movement is not a final one it has just started. It needs to be transformed into new height and form. There is a King and also Maoist. Both are with arms. People have moral strength. The fight has just begun. If you are still under any delusion the time in future will speak itself. The situation in the country is not so romantic but full of pain and vicissitudes. The political leaders who are engaged in all these dealings must be facing the pangs. Let us be practical, work being hardheaded and be dispassionate on political matters – Let us support the political leaders and help them solve this political quagmire.

    Yes Gita, I am the same person that you have indicated.

    Surendra Bhandari

  16. You forget about the 12 or more years of regression of the DEMOCRATIC parties and worry yourself over 14 months of KG’s regression. A republican Nepal, a maoist rule, a say anything do nothing democracy….. we need to get out this siht hole. Not KG, not Paras, may be his son. Nepal looks good with a king. And it works when a King is not King Birendra, accepting every nonsense from the servants of the people of Nepal . we need a king who will say HEY, WATCH OUT. I AM NOT DEAD YET. A competitor to Politicians. Some one to remind those a_holes of politicians, some body is watching. Nepalese cannot go to strikes every other day. They got their own life to live.

    This king tried to, but couldn’t do any thing because of the leeches surrounding him. But you let him go and leave the fate of Nepal in Girija’s hand ( who luckily for Nepal is dying), or any other politicians, Nepal is messed up.

    I sincerely hope Nepalese people wouldn’t commit such a crime on Nepal and leave her fate to the whim of politicians and maoists.

    Jaya desh jaya Naresh
    Pashupati nath le hami sabai ko kalian garun

  17. Sorry, but I feel like writing today.

    I am drunk. I know that’s not a excuse though.

    Ms. Gita says: (I am assuming Ms. Gita is a lady)
    “Please remember people’s power (peaceful) is above law and above constitution which is the source of democracy. Nowhere in the world absolute monarchy and communism came by people’s power, it came by the force of gun. What we are establishing here is the democratic right of the people by the people.”

    DEMOCRATIC RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE.

    I want to go out, as a member of the PEOPLE of Nepal, and protest to keep the king. Where would I be?
    Smashed up. Cashed up. Beaten up. Wheated like a Wheat.

    Was that what the VIGILANTES did in the protest for DEMOCRACY?

    AND GOT BEATEN UP FOR IT?

    By the way, who called for the protests in Nepal. I know Nepalese supported it. But who actually called for it.

    POLITICAL LEADERS. I would think. I cannot be sure though.

    And I would think Nepalese got tired of all the corruption, lawlessness, and pay political tax to smoke a cigereetee kind of thing a few years ago. I think I was. But no one called a protest.

    No. there are always leaders. Some one to tell you what to do. And we do it. We lose our life for it. True. But that is revolution.

    I am glad that people showed that they are still alive.

    Nepalese people. Can you believe it?

    12 or some years of democracy and I thought we were all dead.

    This is not democracy. But a step towards it. We know what our power is. NOW.

    I was about to say…Lets use it. When ever we need it. Not with protests but with non cooperative movement, like Gandhi. But I just cannot see where that would get us with the politicians.

    Believe me. I know how politicians think. (Used to Think, may be i should say).
    Jaya desh, jaya naresh.
    As it used to be.
    And hopefully better today
    PEACE be in Nepal.
    And Prosperity.

  18. Now since the scenario has totally changed than the conclusive part of my article above:

    I believe personally,

    The ceremonial king can still exercise his reght to pardon the rebellions

    The parliament can adopt that

    The constituent Assembly Path will be clear for unconditionalk participation of the Rebelllions in the elctoral.

  19. I am very confused by the way of international community (esp USA) in viewing Nepal.

    Why they again and again tell us to throw away our energy and effort to claim our freedom and soveireignity for the sake of securing our security and stability?
    (for eg: the way they told us to reconcile with king in his first deceitful announcement)
    but nepali people have proved them wrong and we have received our freedom with our own effort.

    cannot poor people too wage their voice for freedom?
    cannot we die for our dignity than live on the bread of slavery?
    if nepali people are ready to die for their dreams rather live in nightmare, cannot they fight?(i mean peaceful fight, like the demonstrations we had recently)

    i don’t understand why US is so concerned about our security when their own army are dying in Iraq ( a war which they cannot justify till now)
    (btw so many US policies leaves me bewildred)

    all these developed nations had already their versions of revolutions (on the basis of which only they are now on this height)
    and they even took part in world wars for their power extensions (they will readily take part in world war III too if they see their hope of victory)

    but when this small poor nation has finally awoken and is ready to shed away all it’s age old suppressions, why they want to rtard us in the name of stability.

    why installment basis democracy for us???
    was the liberation of India and US itself in installment basis????

    the question goes to u Surendra BHandariji , think-tank in the United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies, Japan.

  20. Under_current
    do u dare to say the things u have just said here in this blog( hiding inside your room ) in front of a group of nepali people.
    Sambhu Thapa has given an open challenge for those who advocates for monarchy.
    do u dare to go in khulamanch and have your views forward in front of a crowd of Nepali people who r waiting for ‘new nepal’.
    getting drunk wouldn’t be an excuse then.

  21. Taaya, It is high time we should realize and accept the fact that there isn’t any US policies for Nepal. Nepal is actually no priority for US. It might be true that US keeps it’s good eye on the political development in Nepal but involving directly here is a far fetched story. Yes when communism is denounced, when people are singing the song of capitalism, when the world has no boundaries, US might raise an eyebrow when it sees the rise of communism which it defeated a decade ago, but meddling here with the genuine interest… something to think about.

    Nordic countries are the major donors for the development of Nepal and somehow you can feel that it doesn’t need to be US of A to play the foremost role. Denmark was the first country to withdraw it’s aid against King G’s direct rule and Norway becomes the first country to withdraw it’s sanction back, the day after parliament was reinstated. I believe Norway even offered to broker the peace talks between Maoists and other parties. But that is not my point, my point was US never managed to come out with the clear views towards Nepal. It of course distastes Mao comrades and given the chance it will stick to King G and supplies arms to RNA to finish Maoists. Right now there is only one agenda and that is ‘anything BUT Maoists’ . So it wasn’t a surprise when it welcomed the move by king when he invited someone to be a prime minister.

  22. Surendra Bhandariji,

    I don’t really understand what constitution , what rules what legal constraints u r talking about????

    don’t u know that this constitution is date expired ??
    we are talking about making ‘New Nepal ‘ and u try to retard us with ‘thotro’ rules and regulations.

    and who is the king from which we have to get consent?
    r u talking abt the one with bloody dark history and who was recently made to kneel down by the people.

    CA is view of majority of Nepali people. they love their lives more than any american advocate sitting there in USA.
    whether they want to go slowly but surely or are confident enough to take charge….the result will itself declare.

    what’s the point of putting conditions beforehand.

    let the people decide. even poor people are now aware and awoken to decide their destiny.

    even a faint suspect in my mind tells me “though u r such a learned and experienced person (desh khayera shesh vayeko), is something deep down your old beliefs tapping u to imagine “nepal without king” quite unnatural”

    excuse me if i am wrong.

  23. “Accept Democracy and Ceremonial Monarchy as the basic fundamental principles of constituent assembly”

    Mr Bhandari,
    My blood is boiling reading above comments by you.
    After all these blood baths, did Nepalese people fight to restore Ceremonial Monarchy?
    Put this in your thick head – People want a Republic. People will get rid of Monarch from Nepal once and for all but first we need to put these Mandalays in proper.

  24. glade,
    what makes u assume that Nepal is of least interest for US , because it is a small and poor nation?
    because it doesnot have any economical significane for US?
    why don’t u realise however small and poor a country, it has equal symbolic significance as a country.
    wasn’t Vietnam a small and poor one for USA to put all its vain effort to crush it (till it’s own people were there in protest as they were ashamed of their own country)

    though nepal or it’s democracy can be of minor USA concern but crushing communist insurgency is a major concern. because if this is successful here, this has the potential to send a wave of communism all over the world.

    USA isnot interested about our peace or progress but just want to crush maoists in any cost.

    and don’t u see USA’s hand playing here:
    isn’t it the USA who supported King’s autocratic rule with all those military aids when all people within and outside the county were crying for dialogues??
    isn’t it USA that tried to envelop this king’s rule in the fake cover of democracy but had to chant for democracy when all the masks of democracy fell off from kings ugly face and USA too was in peril of it’s hideous intentions revealed?

    USA is the biggest player everywhere . let us not play it with our freedom, and fate.

  25. I am afraid of USA

    (I am a liberal socialist , not a kattar communist)

    I look at USA with awe and wonder and respect and jealosy but also I am afraid of america.

    Because, I am living in the ether of Americanism.
    the books movies magazines everything everything makes me tangled me in this ‘ism’ and tries to blind me from all other ideals.

    i agree america has given the world a lot (received too). but when i happen to read US publications (eg:time ) i just feel the pressure with which they try to make me worship america as saviour of the whole world.
    i get disappointed by the way they act so mean and so unfair in disgracing communism.

    autocratic communism is not the sane path. but can’t we try to moderate it change to democratic communism or socialism.
    if ‘intolerance to other ideals’ is detached from communism ,i feel it’s ideals alone are so human and so rational.

    i think america should try to change communism than crush it if the real thing it wants is democracy.( what can i say if it’s primary concern is power and influence extension itself).

    can anybody give me a reason why ‘capitalism’ should be the only religion of the world?

    there are so many nations with their different composition, diff needs and diff probs. so if absolute capitalism is the best for USA , liberal socialism can be a better option for nepal. we can always switch to capitalism if we transform to need it.

    i see a bright future of world where capitalism and socialism can co-exist.

  26. Dear Republic,

    I would like to appreciate your feelings and enthusiasm. I have no problem with Republic Nepal. I am talking on the present reality of the country. I can understand growing popularity of republican idea in the country. But I do equally understand that still there is a King flanked by Army. You will know in couple of days time that the King will not accept CA without at least a space for ceremonial existence of the Monarchy. To talk being sentimental is one thing but to address this problem squarely is another thing, which is rather difficult. Let us not push the SPA to a rather difficult situation. Tell me, how do you solve this problem? Give me answer. If you are going to establish republican state, I have no objection. But if you are going to exercise CA, where thre is an existence of the King you cannot just dream republic away. A monarchy devoid of any privileges, powers, immunities and authorites is far better than imminent conflict and bloodshed in the country. Now it is our responsibility to convince the Maoist to agree on the fundamental norms of constitution making process. Untill ceremonial monarchy and democracy are accepted as basic norms, I doubt the CA is going to be easily realised in the country. Let us be practical. It is now our responsibility to talk not on abstarct things but on objective reality and contents. Contents are more important. Try to convince Maoist on these minimum contents that will be a biggest contribution.

    Surendra

  27. Surendra,

    I am afraid a lot of people seem not to be aware the dangers of moving swiftly to a republic-the inherent instability such a drastic change contains. I would not want to see Nepal being subject to the countless coups Pakistan and Bangladesh have seen.

  28. Surendra Adhikari::”A monarchy devoid of any privileges, powers, immunities and authorites is far better than imminent conflict and bloodshed in the country. ”

    this is a point that we all republicans should ponder on.
    But if we adjust with “ceremonial” now to avoid bloodshed, we should be guaranteed to kick out this whole monarchy stuff as soon as we get RNA by CA results.

    I don’t say “now” but “as soon as possible”.
    let we all work to make the day when this country will be free of any ‘abashesh’: remains of monarchy come as soon as possible.

    it is already too late and i am having problem with my patience.

  29. Hi Kirat,

    I want to hear more from you. Give your thoughts. Explain things so that it would help to come across the issues.

    Hi Taaya,
    I can understand you. Now let us work better for “lowest common denominators” so that we could help the SPA and make this transition smooth without loosing any achievements in hand.

    Surendra Bhandari

  30. Hi Surendra,

    Even if we discount an armed resistance by the Palace against a move to a Republic the following matters still worry me :

    1. Well if the king just left town overnight what would happen to the RNA, the best equipped and strongest military force in the country? They could behave and work in the interests of the country-that would be nice. But what if some of the generals became ambitious and decided they needed to set the country right? This is a distinct possibility.

    2.How too would the Maoists react? Would they work together with the SPA to stabilize the country or would they in a belief that the country was now ripe for a communist, one party rule, republic go on an all out offensive? This has been there stated objective.

    3. How would the rest of the administrative machinery handle such a scenario? We would like to think that the transition would be smooth but what if it fell apart because the SPA was unable to control the situation? What if all the junior administrators with their SPA, Palace and Maoist affiliations completely ignored the orders of their seniors? What would happen to law and order in the country in such a scenario?

    It’s ok to clamour for a republic, I would actually like the country to become one too. But we have to be cautious less anarchy reign after such a sudden transition.

    It’s obvious that the SPA does not yet have a clear road map on how to manage such a situation.

    Look I loathe our present king, CP and the psychophants that surround them-but for a country in transition like ours there are some merits to a ceremonial monarch-ceremonial mind. My post is getting too long to elaborate this point.

    A republic is fine but if we really want it and start working for a smooth transition now, it will, in my opinion, still take at least five years to attempt it via a referendum that is free and fair.

    Everything has it’s pros and cons but when deciding on such a momentous decision we must be prudent and weigh the risks keeping in mind that the lives of over 25 million Nepalis are at stake. At this moment the dangers of such a sudden switch to a Republican form of government vis-a-vis a constitutional monarchy far outweigh the benefits.

  31. Hi Kirat,
    I perfectly agree with you. I do share the same concerns. I would like to appriciate you for your very succient and dispassionate analysis. Tell me and of course to all the Nepalese people, how to address the concerns that you have pointed out. What about if the key stakeholders agree about – Democracy and Ceremonial Monarchy as the foundations for moving ahead? Now, there is no one than the SPA leaders critically pressurised in the country. They are not able to speak about whether the constituent assembly will be with or without a condition. They know it will be a big boomarang to speak now. But in near futue, in a couple of days time they have to take a decision. Before, they take any decision we need to create an environment that could help the SPA leaders. I am not behind the leaders, I know their quality and skill but now they are the only friends of people and the contry who can do something for the better future of the country. The concept of “condition” or “uncondition” has moved wrongly.

    The CA should be opened on contents but should not be charted to uncertainties allowing anarchy and unrest in the country. This is a time of real challenge that the country is facing ever than before, which needs perspicacity. It really decides or sketches future path of the country. But it is undoubtedly full of vissisitudes and challenges. People like you and of course we all need to play a very balanced and catalytic role in this moment of the country so that the SPA could be able to chart both the Royalist and Maoist and institutionalise democracy in the country.

    Surendra Bhandari

  32. Ok Surendra,

    Here goes.

    The following things must be given top priority and done simultaneously :-

    1.The Parliament or democratic leaders must immediately move to modernize and restructure the RNA
    -They must be made a professional fighting unit and not a playground for the thakuri types. This means all ethnicities will be welcomed in the RNA and will have equal opportunity in this career.
    -RNA’s ties with the Palace must be severed. All those top brass with a known record of being pro-king must be retired. The entire RNA must be, I hate the word, re-educated in the importance of being a professional force with their allegiance only to the people of Nepal via the Parliament.

    I suggest that the U.N. be asked to assist in this.

    2.It is imperative that the throne is told in no uncertain terms that it has no active
    role in the country’s politics. Anything that is unclear about this in the present constitution must be amended by legislation to make it clear.

    3.The Maoist’s under the auspices of the UN must be brought to the table for peace talks. If India objects for once this objection must be overruled. Elections to the CA can be offered to them as exchange for surrender of weapons. Absorption of the PLA into RNA can also be offered.

    The above would ensure that the a. RNA would never back the Palace b. the King would have no excuse for another power grab and c. if the Maoists backed out of a peace deal they would be exposed in front of the UN and thus the world and would have to face a thoroughly professional RNA with the world backing it, which would be a pretty powerful deterrent.

    If the above is done properly than we should have the basics in place for a stable society. CA elections can be held. There are other important things as well such as checks and balances to be put forth on the executive by the judiciary and legislature-fine tuning. But the above are the three basics in my opinion.

  33. Strong comments and strong logics …Whether it is SPA or the King, they rule through the RNA and the Police. Look at Maoists…they ruled by their militia…How many of us are willing to prescribe to their ideals? Are we ready to accept them as our rulers?
    Then the question of CA comes. Lets face it…will Maoists with their goons allows these political parties to campaign for it? Do these politicians have guts to step out of valley to engage in any canvassing? Protesting within confines of Kathmandu Valley was easy… do they have strength to step aside and hit the roads? At least for last six years they have not…and when they have tasted power, will they go out…Hardly likely.
    Plus, there is international consideration. Will India, China or US allow the elections without any conditions…especially on the question of monarchy? Again, the answer is negative because they had time and again stated that all the constitutional forces must join together. So republicism may be far fetched.
    Thirdly, the loyalty of RNA comes. Historically, they have been loyal to the King and they still are. How pragmatic is it to think that they will step aside with the question of republicism comes?

    Ultimately, the CA elections will be held, however without the question on the future of monarchy.

  34. Hi All,

    While the whole nation’s attention is focussed on stripping the King and for an unconditional CA, my fear is are we doing enough to develop a consensus/forum to address potential threats from Maoists? Although they have agreed to accept outcome of the CA but if you actually look at it, they are in the most advantageous and strongest position today. I am not very comfortable thinking what they could possibly do although I’d like to be an optimistic.

  35. it seems Mr.Bhandari’s argument for preconditional constituent assembly is the same bogey of communism shared by most of jaundiced eyed meddling diplomats (euphemestically,international community).Mr bhandari your assumption taht lack of a precondition would lead us to anarchy seems to be based on the flawed premise that Nepalese lack political consciousness to recognise their rights and hence establish a democracy-that you like to label as liberal.This is a gross humiliation of the fortitude of the citizens of the country.They have shown an unprecedeted level of courage and political willpower.But to my utter dismay you seem to ridicule their movement.
    And why not give the people a chance to pick from among a wider range of choices.Let people choose among bourgeoise democracy,socialist democracy,republican,monarchy with whatever adjective preceeding it.
    If you recognise them as soverign let them practise it to the hilt.And the choices should not just nominal but real.We dont want a choice between devil and sea.We want real choices that democracy in its fullest and purest form ensures.
    So a conditional constituent assembly is not acceptable.

  36. Mr. Subhash, not even the condition that the Maoists must lay down their arms and allow other political parties to campaign in their ‘territories’?

  37. Mr.kirat thanks for your perusal and as for your question
    Of course the Maoists as they have acquised, should rest their arms and so should the Royal army for that matter.
    Its not a condition for the constituent assembly per se but a condition for holding an election for the same.
    I hope you you can make out the differnce.

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