Restoration of Parliament: Not Real Achievement for Nepal

History Repeats in Nepal: Is Jana Andolan II compromised just like Jana Andolan I ?

By Santosh

Seven parties and most of protestors are euphoric about royal proclamation to reinstate parliament. However, there is very less realization that it’s not a real achievement but rather a continuity of the post 1990 scenario.

Royal Intentions

The intention of King is not sincere. The act of reestablishing parliament is a bargaining chip and way to keep the royalties involved in power. If you look at the sequence of royal announcements, this dishonesty is clear. First, Gyanendra ordered ban on protests and shoot-on-sight curfew. Second, he invited Surya Bahadur Thapa and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, royal leaning politicians, to arrange a new power sharing agreement. Third, a couple of days later after record demonstrations, he announced that PM post will go to seven party alliance. Please note that security personnel imprisoned Bam Dev Gautam and Jhala Nath Khanal at the Tribhuvan International Airport the same day when he was preparing to hand over the executive power. Fourth, when protestors rejected and protests got bigger, he announced the reinstatement of parliament.

If you look at intentions of Gyanendra, in each and every stage, he tried all he could to retain his absolute powers. At any given instance, he could have declared what people were asking.
Even at the day of declaration, King was bringing more security personnel from Pokhara and neighboring cities. The pro republicans such as Narahari Acharya and member of civil societies were still under royal custody when the declarations were made. This proves the degree of honesty of the current king.

Royal Declaration

The royal declaration does not address the demand of constituent assembly and handing over of security personnel to the parliament. One might attribute King’s pride for not declaring all the demands of protestors but when security personnel start to kill protestors, the question of preserving pride of one person becomes irrelevant.

Constituent assembly is not possible under the constitution of 1990. Even with 2/3rd of parliament endorsing new constitution, the king has the final decision to any changes in constitution. The upper house is still dominated by 1/3 rd of royal appointees. After repeated breach of constitution by King, practically the 1990 constitution is dead. There is no provision in constitution that allows King to safeguard executive powers in him or to create post of the Chair of the Council of Ministers. Gyanendra has no respect for the constitution of 1990. This point has been proved by media crackdown of the last two years, by political revenge seeking through unconstitutional royal anti graft commission, by appointment of royal sycophants in constitutional bodies like election commission, attorney general, and Supreme Court and by massive waste of national resources in royalties who cannot be prosecuted under the 1990 constitution.

It is useless to ask Supreme Court for any constitutional advice. The 1990 constitution is a tool which king is using to legitimize his illegitimate acts to ordinary Nepalese and international community. The effort to revive such dead constitution is tantamount to continuation of the monarchy and undermines the popular movement of Jana Andolan II. Restoration of parliament is a royal setup to keep on preserving monarchy.

The provision of Security Council under the 1990 constitution does not guarantee that army will be under civilian control. King has showed no intention to leave the control of army. The Security Council can only recommend actions and the final decision is taken by head of the army, which is king. The Supreme Court can not decide on any military affairs. The promotion in army is controlled de-facto by king. You just need to look at the current list of army general and colonels to see the number of Ranas, Shahs and Thapas. Royal Nepal Army is a plutocracy where only die hard royalists and extended member of royal family have top places. As the top army brass is composed of royal members, military has always remained loyal to king and not to elected government. The incident of GP Koirala resigning after refusal of army to rescue police trapped by Maoists proves this point. The plutocracy and irregularities in military funds (arms purchase & army employee provident fund) is sustaining this situation. As long as army and police are under control of King, there is absolutely no guarantee that King will not backtrack once the protests have subsided.

Officially, 14 protestors have died and several hundreds injured. The real death toll and the number of victims can be far higher. As the security apparatus ultimately reported to king, King should be held accountable for the loss of lives. Extending heart-full condolences to the death victims after giving orders to shoot them is not sufficient. Prosecuting only the police/army officers who gave orders to shoot is ignoring the fact that these people were just tools and order came from somewhere else.

Royal Booby Trap

The king has thrown ball in parties’ court. The objective of this action was not to restore democracy but to ridicule it. King handed power, as he knew that political parties will fight among each other for power. By trying to sow a seed for fight, King hopes to regain credibility in the eyes of ordinary citizens. This is the same strategy like CPN UML who used to say and repeat 10 thousand times that GP Koirala is bad to mean that they are good.

King Gyanendra’s is the last ditched attempt to save monarchy and we Nepalese seem to be falling in his trap. Paras might never be recognized as a legitimate ruler without proving that he has not killed Praveen Gurung et al. It is in the interest of king to declare the navayuvaraj the crown prince. Stripping Paras of his crown prince title will at least bring some solace to the falling institution of monarchy. Let us hope King does not get that clever.

The current arrangement has made impossible the entering of Maoists in the mainstream. This marriage of convenience between SPA and Monarch imperils the peace efforts of Nepal and risks prolonged civil war.

Fear of Maoist takeover

SPA leaders as well as Royalists are afraid of imaginary Maoist takeover. This situation is impossible due to national and international considerations. But propagandists have been using and spreading this fear to maintain/justify their favorite regimes. Fear is the most easiest and convincing tool in the times of uncertainty.

In the international front, Maoist takeover is a day dream. The US won’t accept at any case Maoist coming to power as this will challenge the global US hegemony. They don’t want these Maoists to keep on exporting some revolution. The current global regime suits US. US has all new discoveries, all best companies, all minds of universe, a very favorable international trade regime, a highly protected local market, a very good living standard for nationals and financial/technical power to exploit resources around the world. EU has same commercial position as US and tries to project itself as champion of human rights.

Try to talk about trade in services and reduction of agricultural subsidy in developed nations and these democracy champions will make you international enemy like Mahathir Mohammad or Hugo Chavez. The US/EU don’t need to colonize developing countries. World Bank, IMF and WTO act on behalf of these countries to get the favorable trading regime. The extremists such as Maoist are threat to this delicate international balance. The hypocrite world regime will do all it can to destroy the Maoists and that is the destiny of the Maoists.

Just look at FARC, any other South American countries, or any African country. A couple of hundred million dollar injection to Nepalese army will give it so much firepower that Maoists simply fade off. Imagine the havoc created in Maoists by those Old Russian helicopters and flying cage-like cheetah chopper. And now imagine, bulletproof and missile proof Apaches replacing them. Hundred million dollar or even a billion dollar injection in the current world is actually peanuts compared to the size of economies of developed world.

The India Factor

Similarly, historically India wants instability in Nepal to create favorable water/energy deals. Koshi and Mahakali are the live examples. Their current priority is economic development and energy is a key issue in this development. As with all powerful countries, India tries to use its muscle to have favorable trading regimes and that includes energy. But just for water/electricity, they don’t want instability to go so far that the state of Nepal fails. They just want a favorable regime in Kathmandu. If there is chaos in Nepal, there will be chaos in India as there is no border between these two countries. The Indian army is already overstretched. They already have enough warlike situations in Kashmir and North East India. Fear of Indian takeover of Nepal is unrealistic. This is too big a problem to digest for India and this step even risks the whole integrity of India as a country in a danger. This is one of the royalist fear creating campaign. The worst case scenario of India is to have government led by Maoists who try to fight India’s historical hegemonic role. The Maoist should realize that this is impossible.

The convenience marriage of SPA with King might sound like music to international community but it creates a great danger to the state of Nepal. If the Maoist- Nepal Army fighting continues and so called representative government can get military support of foreign countries, the result is going to be an ever bloodier war. The Maoist will be defeated. They don’t have nay chance to win militarily. But the victims will be thousand of Nepalese people. This killing of each other must stop.

Respect for Nepalese People

It is disgusting to see utter disrespect of Nepalese people in the political discussions. This is the people who fought against autocracy of Ranas in 2007 (1950). This is the people who fought against autocracy of King Birendra in 1990. This is the people who fought against autocracy of King Gyanendra in 2006. If the Maoists come to power and start a dictatorship of proletariat, the same people will rise again and throw them away. The same people will rise if ever a foreign country tries to invade Nepal. I see absolutely no reason why constitution assembly should not be declared as soon as possible. Choosing a government is a fundamental right and not a privilege given by somebody else. The current stage is not an achievement.

If there is referendum on the future of monarchy or if there is constituent assembly polls, we can be certain that it was a right decision to accept reestablishment of parliament. But most signs are not positive. Judging by history of unholy political compromises done till now, I think this Jana Andolan II has been compromised by king if the protestors lose their voice in the days and months to come. I would like to end this article with a positive note.

Revolution means a process through which change is initiated. Once started this has no end. It is a process of improvement in itself. This has started in 1990 and it will have only positive results in the future. The Nepalese people deserve a pride and respect for fighting for what they believe is right.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

15 thoughts on “Restoration of Parliament: Not Real Achievement for Nepal

  1. I used to always favour the middle path for the sake of peace and prosperity. This time I really wanted the monarchy to go but, again took the middle path after the 1st so called royal proclamation when the SPA put up their demands for the reinstatement of the parliatment. I don’t want a king who has caused so much sorrow to its own people and a crown prince who is pshyco.
    I am hoping that the SPA will go for the CA election, bring the maoist to main stream politics by renouncing the violence. SPA and people unity need to take the advantage of the game at this moment by knocking the opponent when the victory is in sight… if not then the opponent can gain the ground at any moment.

  2. It was wrong for the King to restore the dissolved the parliament. His decision was totally unconstitutional. Instead He should have declared election. May be He is just saving His Crown by disregarding the law of the land.

    Now we are back to square one. If the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had not recommended the King to dissolve the House of Representatives back in 2002 we would not have lost innocent lives and valuable properties. So blame lies entirely on Deuba rather than to the King for the mess we faced in four years. The King was not helpful in creating peaceful environment for the public, either.
    SPAs did not want to participate in any election organized by the King’s government for the fear of election fraud. Now SPAs have bigger responsibilities in creating peaceful environment. So that even Panchayat and Maoist parties can participate in any election without the fear of fraud.

    It looks like SPA government under Girija Koirala wants to have election for Constituent Assembly. It will be totally wasteful exercise of the government. What SPA government needs to do is to hold election for all of the 205 members of the house as early as possible. Then as 1990 Constitution provides any articles can be amended or repealed. We do not need Constitution Assembly to change the present Constitution. If Girija Koirala is trying to appease Maoists with this gesture he is totally fool.

    The tenure of the members of the House of Representatives should be limited to three terms of two years. And it should be stated in the Constitution that the House and the National Assembly will never be dissolved under any circumstances.

    According to the present Constitution, National Assembly does not have much authority. This needs to be changed. From the present provision of sixty members it needs to be changed to seventy five members representing 75 districts of Nepal. All of the 75 members should be elected directly by the people from the respective districts. There should not be any members in the National Assembly nominated by the King or by the House. The tenure of office of the members of the National Assembly should remain for one term of six years only. That means every six years we will have new members in the National Assembly.
    To honor the aspirations of the people we need to amend the Constitution so that the general public will be able to vote for the Prime Minister. We have to make sure that the Prime Minister, Ministers and Assistant Ministers are not the members of the National Assembly or the House. We also need to impose the term limit of one term of six years on the Prime Minister.

    With the system of Prime Minister elected by general public in place we will have smooth transition of power if and when the King is abdicated. Even if the King is not abdicated we will have some one who can challenge the authority of the King.

    With all the possible amendments in the present Constitution we do not need the election for the Constituent Assembly. As long as two thirds of the members of the House agree, we can amend or repeal any section of the Constitution.

  3. Without good deeds loktantra,ganatantra only brings ladatantra. We nepalease should be united (people, leaders and king)and work towards country’s well-being. One factor realy can do nothing. If every body is honest as opportunity comes to do the things right,it will get more opportunity in feauture. Nice article though we dont need maoism in nepal.

  4. i am absolutely agreed with Santosh and this is nothing other than compromise just like 2046 JanaAndolan. I guess palace has cleverly managed to exit from this crisis. I won’t be surprised after all people has to go for another JanaAndolan in few years from now.

  5. This is one of the most preposterous article I have ever read in UWB. Honestly Wagle, don’t you have anything else to publish ?

    1)Noted Jhalnath Khanal and Bamdev were arrested , what is your point ?
    2)Even at the day of declaration, King was bringing more security personnel from Pokhara and neighboring cities…… again what is your point ?
    3)Even with 2/3rd of parliament endorsing new constitution, the king has the final decision to any changes in constitution.

    >>

    Article 116. Amendment of the Constitution:
    (i) A bill to amend or repeal any Article of this Constitution, without prejudicing the spirit of the Preamble of this Constitution, may be introduced in either House of Parliament:
    Provided that this Article shall not be subject to amendment.

    (ii) If each House, with a two-thirds majority of its total membership attending, passes a Bill introduced pursuant to clause (1) by a majority of at least two-thirds of the members present, the Bill shall be submitted to His Majesty for assent; and His Majesty may, within thirty days from the date of submission, either grant assent to such Bill or send the Bill back for reconsideration with His message to the House where the Bill originated.

    (iii) A Bill sent back by His Majesty pursuant to clause (2) above shall be reconsidered by both Houses of Parliament; and if both the Houses, upon following the procedures referred to in clause (2), resubmit the Bill in its original an amended form to His Majesty for assent, His Majesty shall grant assent to such Bill within thirty days of such submission.

    4)The provision of Security Council under the 1990 constitution does not guarantee that army will be under civilian control. King has showed no intention to leave the control of army. The Security Council can only recommend actions and the final decision is taken by head of the army, which is king. The Supreme Court can not decide on any military affairs. The promotion in army is controlled de-facto by king.>> You can still go with article 117 to setup constitution council, or not ?

    5)Prosecuting only the police/army officers who gave orders to shoot is ignoring the fact that these people were just tools and order came from somewhere else >> Find them, collect evidence , just showing your anger and frustration here with your keyboard is not going to solve that problem my friend .

    6)It is in the interest of king to declare the navayuvaraj the crown prince >> So suddenly we are accepting the monarchy A G A I N huh ? It is only Gyanendra and Paras we hate, bring others , we are ready to bow… my a.ss

    7)This marriage of convenience between SPA and Monarch imperils the peace efforts of Nepal and risks prolonged civil war. >> Please elaborate

    8)imaginary Maoist takeover >> Ohh really ?

    9)Just look at FARC >> my my you certainly are making your point, aren’t ya ? Are you comparing Tirofijo with Prachanda ? But once again .. what is your point dear ?

    10)Similarly, historically India wants instability in Nepal to create favorable water/energy deals >> Yeah riiight !!!!!

    11)The Maoist will be defeated. They don’t have nay chance to win militarily. But the victims will be thousand of Nepalese people. This killing of each other must stop. >> Finally getting some sense , aren’t we ?

    12)The same people will rise if ever a foreign country tries to invade Nepal >> Please elaborate once again .. China or India or Pakistan or Afghanistan or US or Iran or Israel ?

    Do you want more ?…..

  6. We should completely aboilish the Monarchy. No less than that. That’s the bottom line of this Jana Andolan II.
    Holding a CA does not guarantee the aboilishment of Monarchy. Monarchy could still hold a ceremonial role with a curb in Royal power. That’s not what people want.

    Peoples’ aspiration is Republic. We want no Monarchy what so ever.

  7. In a time of war and strife which has resulted in misery for millions of Nepalis, what the janandolan of the last few weeks has given the country is a clear window of opportunity to relegate the monarchy to nothing but a mere figurehead, to solve the Maoist problem by providing a path for them to join mainstream, for the SPA to become statesmen and not mere politicians to lead the country forward to a path of peace and prosperity.

    I think most people know what needs to be done to move ahead. So why are all the UWB articles carping on how enough was not achieved? Sure we must always be reminded of the dangers, that’s fine. But I would like to see a real positive article on the way forward for once.

  8. It is too early to comment what the outcome will be or what had transpired few days ago. It all depends on the level of maturity and sensibility the SPA shows. Somehow, India has big say and it has created credible impression on both SPA and the King: SPA gets the power and the King keeps his crown. In any case, in this process, I hope that the aim of stable Nepal does not lose focus. However, there is a popular saying: power corrupts absolutely.

  9. There is one factor that nobody is mentioned.
    The Maoist has made statements on BBC Radio and other broadcast station and also in news papers that they will follow the will of the people of Nepal enven as the Nepalis will go for a ceremonial king.
    This statments and the 12 points understanding with SPA has make them weaker.
    They has moved themselves in a corner.
    They know now what a peoples movement can do and they are absoluttely aware that the people is not afraid anymore to die so lang as there is no absolute democracy.
    Their target to establish an one party communist (Mao)state is therefore unlikeable.
    Simple but true!

  10. The India Factor
    Nepal can only grow up with India, it is totally in its area of influence. Instead of fighting reality, it can cooperate as other countries in Europe or in US.
    Water and energy are the issue, so far and without India Nepal is the looser.
    In Switzerland, the mountainous districts used to be poor and neglected, but they made the deal with the rich industrialized cantons.
    To make good deals with India, Nepal could easily ask for international help financing and monitoring the use of its water.
    So far Nepal has mainly messed up its only resources, look at you r holy Bagmati through your holy city, it is a shame!

  11. I fully support u santosh.

    i hear people saying:
    donot underestimate the power of people.
    leave everything to people and they will decide their destiny.
    so go for UNconditional constituent assembly.

    people will face it.
    donot ‘pity’ us but ‘believe’ us.

  12. but again i condemn “politics of hatred”
    we should recognize and realize the foreign policies and act cautious and diplomatic .
    we cannot shift this country away from india so there is no use in just blaming them.
    we have to make them realize and accept our sovereignity and not make our land their playgound.
    everybody knows india is regional bully as US is a global one.
    but all we can do is maximise and utilize the mutual bond.

  13. Just a follow up to the artice-

    1.I wrote this article in the spirit that real achievements are yet to come and its time to be prudent. Actually, I hated to see that Maoist line of thought is exactly in the same direction. But there is a point to be made.

    2. Rewriting constitution is necessary-
    2.a. To end the inequalities. Lets talk about the rights of Kamaiya’s, food shortage in Humla, and caste discrimination.
    2.b The security apparatus should be accountable to voters via parliament. Changes in paper (laws/bills/amendments) are not sufficient.

    3. This bloody business of killing each other should end. Its not king/prachanda or SPA leaders who die in this conflict but poor foot soldiers of army/police and uneducated/illiterate maoist youth. It makes sense to go unilaterally for a solution which builds long term peace notwithstanding int’l pressures.

    4. Give SPA a chance but lets be cautious. The current movement is very progressive. Again, lets be cautious about so called revolutionary forces. In Spanish and French revolution, revolutionaries removed autocratic royalties only to replace it by more bloody dictatorship of revolutionaries.

    5. Nepal’s only resource is water and human resources. I agree that without economic co-operation with India, nothing can be done. Anti-Indian acts are suicidal for Nepalese interests.

    Its time to watch the developments and be positive about future.

  14. I agree with Swiss.
    No wonder Indians started realizing that Nepalese hate them and are slowly counter attcking. Here are some examples!

    “anti-India sentiments tell their own stories. So low is Nepal’s self-esteem, and so heightened its love-hate relationship with India, Nepalis need a larger-than-life enemy to battle, a phantom foe if it came to that, and that is where it has stayed. Often, Nepal won’t look within for its failed status, but blame India, in the same manner that many Pakistanis blame and hate India for their own entrapped fates.”

    “Nepalese are basically timid, ignorant and self-centric and caucasian loving. They even hate Nepalese who are abroad. It doesnt really matter if they hate india, does it? india always tries to be altruistic and help nepal and nepal has cheated india by having secret accords with the chinese and pakistan. educated nepalese forget their roots easily, and forget that their countries poor and middle class depend entirely on india for as basic a need as food.

    this is very true of nepalese who are in politics and nepalese who are abroad but not for nepalese who are dependent on india. they ned something to identify and hate, they just choose india, kinda sibling rivalry, and they get the results “now and then” like blockade of trade by india in the 90’s for Nepalese arrogance”

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