Election Theory For Constituent Assembly In Nepal

Situation Update XII: A report by Conflict Study Center, Kathmandu

Contributed by Bishnu Pathak PhD and Chitra Niraula
Assisted by Yashoda Upreti

[Refer to this Wikipedia page for related info discussed in the article]

Two prognosis are presently found in Nepal – the talks will materialize following the zest and zeal of the commoners and talks will fail ignoring the pray for sustainable peace of people. The Government of Nepal’s (GoN) continued status quo on weapons management prior to political solution and political solution first in package raised by the Maoists created confusion among the people. Professor Johan Galtung says, “There is not a peace process but a cease-fire process.” Galtung further stresses, “Prior to the conclusion of political agendas, we can not even imagine of disarmament.” But, both conflicting parties GoN/SPA and the Maoists are trying their level best to assure the people that peace-talks is at the verge of completion as all issues have nearly bridged the gaps. The lip-service peace-talks and repeated assurance to people by them are minimizing the hopes of people for positive peace or just peace. On the one hand, the Maoists are regenerating its strength tossed and turned during the People’s War, and on the other the GoN is preparing the ground for elections appointing Commissioners to Election Commission. Moreover, the government time and again claims CA election could be held within six months. But, the most perplexing point is that the government has neither done exercises on election process nor they have presently raised any concern on it.

Election or voting system was first introduced by Jean-Charles de Borda, which is also called Borda count as an academic study during the period of French Revolution in 1770. The French Academy of Sciences put forward the concept of voting system for electing the members in it. Later, Marquis de Condorcet proposed pair-wise method (Condorcet method) which he called the intransitivity of majority preferences.

Later in the 1800s, apportionment was begun to study and statespersons such as Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Webster, and so forth forwarded various methods. Some of the apportionment methods for instance party-list proportional representation system were revealed in the US and Europe in the 1900s. The apportionment methods are still used in the name of d’Hondt method and the Sainte-Lague method.

The election process coincides with voting system and voting system is a means of electing a number based on the contribution of a number of voters in favors of the candidates or parties. Voting is a part of the political and electoral process. A voting system consists of the rules for how people (voters) express their interests/desires, and how their interests/desires are cumulated to yield a result. Voting system is based on the notion of majority rule . The study of officially defined voting systems is named voting theory – a subfield of politics or political science, economics or mathematics. Three – single winner, multiple winner and mixed theories (proposals) might be applicable in the case of Nepal.

1. Single-winner Theory

Single-winner can be classified into binary (voter either casts vote(s) or does not for a given candidate), ranked (each voter ranks the candidates in order of performance) and rated (voter give a score or grade from 0 to 100 to each candidate) voting system . The common uses of electoral system in single seats are First Past the Post (FPTP), runoff voting and preferential system and plurality.

x Ram 22,000
Shanti 14,500
Hari 9,000
Indira 11,271
Shyam 16,988

Box 1: Single-winner system

X Ram 22,000
Shanti 14,500
Hari 9,000
Indira 11,271
X Shyam 16,988

Box 2: Binary voting system

1 Ram
Shanti
3 Hari
Indira
2 Shyam

Box 3: Ranked voting system

Single winner is a system that uses to elect member(s) of a parliament/state council or president based on single member constituency. It is called a relatively simple majority method, which is also known as FPTP or winner-take all voting system.
The FPTP is generally found in Brazil (Senate), Niger, Panama, Philippines (President), Russia (Duma), South Korea, Singapore, US (House of Representatives, Senate, President and Local government), UK (House of Commons and Local government), etc. France uses a similar system, but carries out two rounds of elections or two ballot plurality systems choosing two highest voted candidates. The weakest candidates eliminate which is called elimination or runoff elections.

The runoff voting system is practiced in Australia (House of Representatives), Brazil (President), France (President and National Assembly), Switzerland (Council of State), etc. In an exhaustive election method, no candidate shall eliminate and voting would be repeated until there is a majority, more than half percent of vote cast. Plurality voting system is known as relatively simple majority where multiple candidates win in a particular constituency using bloc voting likely in Panchayat regime in Nepal . The bloc voting system is found in Ivory Coast, New Zealand (Territorial Authorities), Philippines (Senate and Local government), Singapore, Spain (Senate), Thailand, US (Local government), etc.

In the case of Nepal, this theory may partly be applied at this stage as most of the mainstream political parties including the CPN (Maoist) have expressed their concern over party-list proportional representatives and mixed theory. Before popular movement II, the FPTP had been applied to be electing members of parliament or village development committees.

2. Multiple-winner Theory

Multiple winner election systems comprise of proportional representation (PR) which is more concerned with multi-seat composition of constituency than exactly which candidates get elected. Victor D’Hondt in Belgium derived the PR theory in 1900s, which is attaining popularity in Canada. This system exists upon party list proportional, which corresponds directly with the name of candidates given by the parties. The party list theory is applied in Brazil (Chamber of Deputies), Cyprus, El Salvador, Hong Kong (Legislative Council), Indonesia (Lower House), the Netherlands, Norway, Peru (Congress of the Republic), South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland (National Council), Turkey, Ukraine and so forth. It has open and closed proportional party list. Open list votes for one, two, or more than two candidates indicate their order of preference provided within the list of party. In terms of closed list, the voter casts vote to the parties rather than candidates and the concerned party finally ranks accordingly to its list, e.g., Israel, UK, etc. Party-list proportional representation was widely introduced to elect European legislatures in the early 2000s, even though Belgium implemented it first in 1900.

Single Transferable Vote (STV) considers as a specialized form of cumulative voting system. It uses preferential voting system to ascertain the results of election. It means voters rank candidate(s) in order of preference in a multi-member constituency. A successful individual candidate must attain a quota being the total number of votes received divided by the number of candidates to be elected plus one. In a 9 member of constituency the n quota would be the number of votes divided by 10% (9+1)%. If a candidate wins election keeping him/her in a number one rank, his/her surplus (excess) vote is transferred to second choice. This process is continued till all seats are filled. Andrew promoted STV voting system first held in Denmark in 1856 and in Tasmania in 1896.

Single Non-transferable vote (SNTV) is the semi-proportional method, which is simple than cumulative voting. It is a special variation of cumulative voting where votes cannot be divided to other candidates. It also is known as multiple-winner method where each voter casts one vote for one candidate (one share one vote) in multi-candidate contest. For four-seat constituency, four candidates may take part from a single party and largest number of votes individually wins the seat. Only Jordon and Republic of China (Taiwan) are practicing this method.

The Communist Party of Nepal (UML) put forwarded the concept of inclusive and proportional election system. Similarly, both the Nepali Congress has put forward both single winner and multiple winner theories, which is also floppy. The Maoists also propose for federal autonomy and proportional representations. However, any single proposal is not sufficient taking into consideration Nepal’s diverse social, cultural, linguistic, caste/ethnicities, class and topographical regions.

3. Mixed Theory

Mixed Theory is a combination of Single Winner Method and Multiple Winner Method, which eliminates the weaknesses of both the methods. The mixed election system functions mainly in diverse population or in geographic, socio-cultural and economic realities and the FPTP. The proposed recommendations of the some political parties for CA elections suggest for mixed theory; which are as follows:

NC: CA elections within one year of IG Proclamation consisting 50% each of direct and indirect representations; indirect composed of women, dalits, indigenous/ethnicities, Madhesis, minorities, differentially abled, backward areas, professionals and civil society.

NC(D): CA elections within one year of IP Proclamation consisting 50% each of direct and indirect representatives, ensuring women, indigenous, ethnicities, Madhesi, dalits, Karnali, including remote areas and 10% from professionals and civil society.

Maoist: CA elections within one year of IC Proclamation; 225 CA members comprising 90 from nine autonomous regions; and 125 from 200-thousand population each; and 10 from marginalized and experts, ensuring inclusion and proportional representations of women, disadvantaged castes, ethnicity, differentially abled

Conclusion

Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious country with geographic variations. The deep cultural pluralism of Nepal consists of at least 61 castes, sub-castes, ethnic and sub-ethnic groups . There are about 90 languages and 10 religious communities . The discrepancies based on the above fuelled political and economic exclusion, discrimination and/or exploitation for a large segment of the Nepali population. The post-1990 restoration of multi-party democracy, the zest and zeal of the people, could not be fulfilled due to failure to take steps either in restructuring and/or reforming institutions in the course to mitigate socio-cultural discrimination, economic deprivation and political polarization. Despite some progress in many areas, the huge discrepancy in income between rich and poor widened the gap from 0.32 to 0.43 during the period of 1996 to 2003 , which substantially stimulated to experience an armed conflict named People’s War.

Appropriate election system would contribute to inclusion and proportional representation of all diversities. The following three prognoses are worth considering since Mixed Theory alone is not able to meet the socio-cultural diversities:
Prognosis 1. It includes FPTP, Party List Proportional Representation and Regional/Community Voting System which comprises inclusion of women by 40% as below:

# 40% FPTP (Direct Vote)
# 40% Party List Proportional Representation based on the FPTP
# 20% Regional/Community based on poor, marginalized, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and experts, ensuring inclusion and proportional representations of castes, ethnicity, region, differentially abled, linguistics, etc.

Prognosis 2. It includes two methods of voting system, as follows:

# 80% Direct Vote to Party (Open/Closed List Proportional Representation)
# 20% Regional/Community based on poor, marginalized, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and experts, ensuring inclusion and proportional representations of castes, ethnicity, region, differentially abled, linguistics, etc.

Prognosis 3. It includes absolute direct party participation voting system (Open/Closed List Proportional Representation).

Therapy

However best plans, policies and programs the State adopts, the genuine implementation or the systems, processes and actors play vital roles for the success to restructuration of society and state through free and fair elections to CA. Expertise and experience in election process and systems to delineate constituencies is significant rather than political parties, bureaucrats, etc. In this context, the performances of chief commissioner has raised some doubt that CA election could be held in free and fair manner as he was NC activist more and less bureaucrat in the past.

Prior to go for CA elections, according to Professor Johan Galtung, four issues should be addressed: (i) mediation for conflict resolution, (ii) peace building, (iii) violence control, and (iv) conciliation for healing and closure. Besides, the Watchdog Committees for Peace and Reconciliation should be established at all tiers/layers of society from village to national levels comprising gender, caste, ethnicity, region, class, and youths.

This process may end all contradiction and tussle of caste/ethnicity, class, language, region and so on in Nepal. This could lead to social justice, which is a must for sustainable and just peace.

We agree with ten possible remedies put forward by the Distinguished Professor Johan Galtung, the International Advisor of the CS Center, while on a visit to Nepal on October 30 to November 1, 2006 for the therapy of deadlock on peace. They are:
# have committees likely to National Monitoring Ceasefire Committee to work on major social issues, like communicating vessels, with Maoist at multiple layers;

# learn “positive disarmament” from the Nicaraguan Sandinista-contra teams of former militants and military for joint reconstruction of what was destroyed, e.g. bridges, clinics, schools, etc.;

# send teams of Maoist and others to remote villages to work speedily with the people for literacy in Nepalese and other languages;

# encourage quotas for women, younger people and dalits in local political bodies – not waiting for the constitution to catch up;

# make sure that Nepal is up to date in labor intensive, cost effective, and environment-friendly appropriate technologies;

# experiment with labor value (instead of money) based niches in the economy to alleviate the abject misery of those with no money;

# invite India to share its expertise on federalism, but also to respect Panchshila norms of non-interference;

# invite USA to solve the “9/11” (September 11) conflict, like Spain seems to have solved “11M”, and not use 9/11 to interfere in Nepalese politics;

# use the Maoists and grassroots as a source of energy and national renewal for a better Nepal rather than seeing them as a threat; and

# start thinking of what a reconciliation process might look like.

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24 thoughts on “Election Theory For Constituent Assembly In Nepal”

  1. The real issue is what happens if the monarchy gets more than 65-70 percent votes in favor? Will this mean that the people of Nepal want an absolute monarchy?

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  2. The real issue is what happens if the monarchy gets more than 65-70 percent votes in favor? Will this mean that the people of Nepal want an absolute monarchy?

    Don’t day dream, Prabhat and ask hyper superficial questions. Where were you in April? Were you hiding your head inside the sand like that Ostrich? About 10 million Nepalis directly or indirectly participated in that uprising. And overwhelming majority of those Nepalis were for the abolition of monarchy. But there will no provision for people casting vote for monarchy in CA election. People will caste vote on the agendas of political parties.

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  3. Gurkha: April was 7 months ago. Times have changed. Law and order situation is terrible. People may want to give the monarchy a more favorable chance in the CA elections, whenever it is held. The more the delay the better for the monarchy. That is why I agree with PM KOirala that there should not be any referrendum.

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  4. If the king can get more than 50% in a referendum, he will be a ceremonial king. If not, Shah dynasty will be gone. There will be no referandum for active monarchy. Days of active monarchy were already ended in 2046.Trying to be an autocrat, King Gyanendra invited this end game.

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  5. “About 10 million Nepalis directly or indirectly participated in that uprising.”

    Tell me if I am wrong but didn’t the Maoist intimidate most of the people to participate in those protest? Because when the SPA was carrying out its protest it was a Joke – they had to promise free food and money to come out to the streets!
    That doesn’t mean what the King did was right of course! And after the April revolution proper punishment has been handed down to Gyenandra. The people will decide what to do with the King and the institution on monarchy at the end of the day.

    However, to hold referendum and elections we first need peace and security. With the way the Maoist are behaving that seems unlikely to me.

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  6. People’s choices and aspirations change. They are in a flux all the time. On Feb. 1st not even a single soul turned up to shout against the King. Why? But it took 15 months for them to go against the royal regime. That’s why, as time passes, the CA elections will only see the victory of the monarchy. I forsee this clearly. Especially with the total lawlessness and the colossal corruption by ministers such as Hridesh Tripathy, Prabhu Narayan Chaudhary, etc. The Maoists are losing the ground too. They are becoming cheap with everyday t.v. interiews plus extortion and continuing abduction and killing, bullying of the people. So, if the CA elections are held late, the people will come in strong support of the King because by that time they will have forgotten the April uprising.

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  7. Bhudai Pundit you make a fool of yourself you say April Rising was about free food and money and not democracy – borrow a brain from somebody as yours does not work

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  8. cut the crap:
    Obviously you did not read my comment. Let me explain it again s l o w l y.
    I said that much of the protest came about because of Maoist intimidation. It is not a secret that the Maoist forced people to join those protests. When the SPA was protesting there was no effect and it was a big Joke! The SPA was providing free food as an incentive to protest in the early stages before the Maoist stepped in. Look I am not saying the Feb 1st move was right or anything. I am just trying to argue that this people revolution is overrated.

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  9. The people are always underrated just as you overrate yourself by sitting on this site.

    I remember the deaths and the injuries in April and what you say dishonours their memory and their struggle – you should be ashamed – but that is a feeling you do not know.

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  10. I submitted the following comment but it got deleted 😦

    Hello Friends,

    In my view we must blame the SPA for giving the Maoists the right to commit terrorism. SPA has done so much damage to the country now. If the law encourages and supports crime, all of us will commit crime, isn’t it? That is why I think the Maoists are not wrong; the SPA is more wrong and unjustified. Now it is our duty to bunk the SPA and interact directly with the Maoists for peace. We can take help of the King, the Army or international people.

    Anyway, like always, will the terrorists be killed? Will the corrupt politicians be punished? I don’t know what is happening in Nepal. I want to see peace and prosperity.

    Jaya Nepal! Jaya Sri Paanch! May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all.

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  11. cut the crap:
    I know about the many people who suffered and I also supported the movement. However, what I am saying is that it was not as prevasive as many people are making it out to be. That’s all. But do you not agree that until the Maoist got involved and went around demanding that one person from every house be sent to the protests the protest were not effective or popular?

    noname:
    What is with you posting the same comment over and over again on every thread every couple of days? No one here has a crystal ball so what answer are you expecting? And now I don’t balme the SPA as much as the King. Because of the Feb 1st move the SPA joined hands with the Maoists and all of a sudden the Maoist gained legitimacy and prominance.

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  12. noname,
    better u fcuk urself.
    I saw many of ur nonsense messages.I think like, u not only have no name but u don’t have sense neither.

    Go to some pshycologists to treat urself.
    That is the best suggestion u could ever expect for ur nonsense Qs.

    Hope u r now fully satisfied now.

    Bhudai,
    by the way,these days,i like da way u Q n A with other fellas..May be its bcoz of time now..Or u really change

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  13. Truth:
    I have changed my ways because insults and arrogant comments lead to just vindictive posts and as a result discussion and ideas get lost.

    I suggest you also tone down your response to ‘noname’ and engage him in a discussion.

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  14. Lot of Royalist with name and noname are trying to blog against contemparary development in Nepal for the electoral democracy.

    Repressive forces are more online than on the street challenging the Maoists activity!

    Bullshitting online does little. If you have guts to bring back the absolute king “your soul and body” then get on the street.

    You repressive jacks are farting bad stuffs to spoil the geniune concern of the editorial which have been put together with a lot of hard work.

    You used to be on sajha.com (royal.com) but now you’re shifting on the blogs.

    Unless the stable peace and electoral democracy is established in Nepal as its political culture in Republican set of governance there will be fight to make your ‘soul and body’ into the flesh made up of bone, blood, nurve tissues, marrows, skins.

    Such fleshy body need to work on the field and walk on the street to earn livelihood for your survival. But you brats do not need to work for survival – fuedal landlords with bighas of land to tilled for you by hardworking farmers (lower caste), cooked for your moms, sisters, sister-in-las. You do not even care to do your own dish, wash your clothes. The spoilt brats of Nepal. We will see your condition soon for your own survival.

    You’re those spoilt brats of South-Asia who make thier moms, sisters and sister-in-las do all your personal things – cooking food, washing dishes, clothes.

    What you care… just get back home to get the dal-bhat and again get back online or gossip-line …

    Rememeber: Time will soon make do all those you are gettting done by your moms, wives, sisters and sister-in-las.

    No Nepali will entraintain on the soil of Nepal without earning a living working hard in his or her life.

    That’s gonna be your ‘royalist brats’ future on the soil of Nepal. Farting too much without any need for earning livelihood (for bread and butter) will shit on the pants once that moments come on that soil.

    The topic here to think for us which electoral system will function for our up-coming constituent assembly election. Then have creative dialogues with each other to contribute the contemporary political situation we are facing in the country.

    A constitution written for a sovereign country without the election of the constituent assembly election is considered to be arbitrary meaning it did not have met the basic norms and principles of the electoral democracy.

    What the hell you damn ‘royalists’ want? What kind of democracy? Be NC-royalist or Panche royalist you morans need to understand and respect the basic democratic norms and principle even you fukkuwas want to bring the king back.

    I say there will be fight against you incessantly and I will be one of the supporter of the such people’s movements to knock you down.

    Basically, you are here in this blog to divert the attentions of the readers out of the topic.

    Shame on you. It is a farting strategy. You bullshit blame on politicians of Nepal but you are worst.. you stink… you suck

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  15. This PhD Pathak jolted me into fury, once again.

    I know this person, and have always found him as a rare moron. Everyone who reads his book can easily understand how stupid he is, and how useless his analyses are. The is the product of the garbage inherent in our university system.

    This whole article is nothing but a copy from various internet sources including Wikipedia. Will PhD Pathak please answer some of my questions:

    1. What is ‘prognosis’? Please check a good dictionary before answering.
    2. Does the “government of Nepal’s” exist in any part of the world?
    3. The Maoists are generating “its” strength?
    4. “all issues have nearly bridged the gap” -what does it mean?
    5. “Voting system is based on the notion of majority rule”. Really? Do you believe in this?, or you have just copied it from a site.
    6. How are your conclusion and the background of the article related to the voting system?

    I have just one word for this article: pathetic.

    To uwb: I have repeatedly been asking you to consider this blog little more than a playground of lazy idiots. This should not be limited as a forum where dull and unintelligent people publish their craps which cannot be published in any standard newspaper like your own TKP.

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  16. Let’s try to discuss about peace and democracy. However even congress strong candidates started to say that we are heading toward peace but we don’t have security. How the county can run without security. Similarly even among the SPA are threatening about the ethnic crisis, which might erupt from terai. As per their say it could be more dangerous than maoist insurgency…so talking about CA election is going to secondary topic until and unless we are capable to control security and addressing the most dangerous coming ethnic crisis. Both of the things are giving negative impact to peoples dream of peace and democracy.

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  17. Sanjeev,

    Why don’t you write counter electoral research paper yourself and post it on the blog.

    I give you deadline – post it with-in a week if you think these ‘ report by Conflict Study Center, Kathmandu Contributed by Bishnu Pathak PhD and Chitra Niraula Assisted by Yashoda Upreti’ by your technique.

    I see how you can bullshit being a some sort of royalist or anti-royalist. Bullshitting is the essence of Nepali huligan tradition, many of the bloggers, especially the writers of th article call it ‘arbitrary’.

    Your psyche, if you look before you get furry with the accusation that is conditioned with the feudal oligarchic arbitrary school of thought – one of the most primitive schools of human thought on the earth.

    Bullshitting comes from the mind that is empty, thoughtless, and inconsiderate.

    What’s the big deal with the spelling? It could be the typo. Somebody typed it and made a mistake in the first place. Then proof reader did not notice it or may be no one proof read.

    Bullshitting has its limit. If you continue further with it you will see that there are many furrious people on the blog than you think of yourself.

    I call you a spoilt brat with the feudal oligarchic arbitrary mind-set.

    Watch out before assume to be the king of the blog.

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  18. I agree with commentor Sanjeev, this is a pathetic write up.

    and what’s with the author dragging his PhD with his name– ‘Pathak PhD’, common that embelishment of PhD won’t make your crap any better, and we are not going to get impressed by it either.

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  19. Glueguguloo,

    The state of your mind reflected in your above post suggests that you need better training, and some more time in your studies. Your comment reminded me of John Kerry’s sincere advice to some US students a few weeks ago.

    Note that I am not participating and don’t want to participate in a competition with PhD Pathak to write an article on electoral system. I have no time do so. What is more, you don’t need to be an election expert to understand that a piece on electoral system is good or bad.

    To know that the filth stinks, you don’t have to dive into it.

    By the way, is PhD pathak your close relative or something?

    Pb_ko_ba: Thanks mate. Great people think alike! haha.

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  20. pb ko ba,

    After you telling me to write an article (re:Horning)instead of commenting only,you yourself are the king critique agreeing with a critique in critiquing somepone else’s article. Touche!

    Sanjeev,
    Your comments are well appreciated.

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  21. please correct your sentence:

    “Election or voting system …also called Borda count as an academic study during the period of French Revolution in 1770.”

    the french revolution did not start until 1789 (the day normally referenced is july 14, 1789 — bastille day.)

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