Nepali in Transition: Updates on Political Developments

Bargainings for portfolios continue. Here is the latest along with what pro-Maoist newspaper like Janadesh and pro-UML paper Drishti say. Plus, Jana Astha weekly on Gyanendra’s blatant ignorance to the government investigation

By Dinesh Wagle

The politics in Kathmandu is focused in forming the interim government in which Maoists are expected to join. Talks between the political parties, mainly Nepali Congress, CPN UML, CPN Maoist and Nepali Congress Democratic are going on. All big four parties are reportedly bargaining on the exact details of power sharing: who should get which portfolio in the cabinet. Home, Finance, Defense and Communications are considered the four key ministries. UML is claiming either Home or Finance where as NC or the PM wants all first three. Maoist is expected to get Communications.

As bargains are going on among the parties, Maoists are increasingly becoming frustrated by the way Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is presenting himself the power sharing negotiations. They feel the delaying caused by Koirala is helping those who don’t want to see the Constituent Assembly elections happening in June. (According to the interim constitution of Nepal, the CA election must be held by mid June.) Nepali Congress, Koirala’s party, wants to keep plum portfolios with itself in the interim cabinet where as CPN UML and CPN Maoist strongly disagree with that intention. They say the cabinet must represent the power equation of the interim legislature parliament where all three big parties are represented almost equally. Maoists are demanding the senior Deputy Prime Minister saying that when they agreed to accept Subash Nemwang of UML to be the speaker of the parliament all parties had in principle agreed that the Maoist would get the post of senior DPM. In yesterday’s meeting with Prachanda, Koirala shocked the Maoist leader by saying that he didn’t want to continue with the post of DPL at all.

There is another uncertainty: will the interim government form by the end of this week, before the PM heads to New Delhi, India on April 1, to take part in the SAARC meeting. The foreign minister has to attend the pre-summit ministerial meetings before that date. So there is very little time to continue the apparently never ending negotiations. An informal meeting of the central secretariat of the Maoist the day before yesterday gave ultimatum to the PM to form the government by Friday. If not, the party said, there will be Jana Andolan (People’s Movement) III. The Maoist mouthpiece Janadesh weekly in its Tuesday issue has this banner headline: “Feeble possibility of Maoist joining the government.” The paper writes: “The special meeting of Central Committee secretariat will be held today. The meeting will decide on joining the government in the present context in which the possibility of holding CA election by mid June seems fading. If the meeting decides not to join the government, new programs to start peoples’ movement will be brought out, the source said.”

Nepali language Janadesh further writes: “Nepali Congress is not ready to take a solid decision on the monarchy, the paper writes. The imperialist and royalist regressive elements within Nepali Congress are busy in different conspiracies and that is pushing the election of CA to uncertainty.”

Here is more from Janadesh: “There is no point of Maoist joining the government if the election couldn’t be held by mid-June. Nepalese peoples’ wish is to hold the election by that date and construct a new Nepal by a restructured [state machinery]. If there is a conspiracy to take the Maoist to the government but not hold the election by the stipulated date, there is no meaning for the Maoist joining such government. Maoist will not join such government.”

Dristi, a pro-CPN UML vernacular weekly newspaper, has this headline on Tuesday’s issue: “UML will get out [of the government] if talks fail.” The paper blames NC and Prime Minister Koirala for the current deadlock on the formation of interim government. “It is said that PM Koirala hasn’t yet agreed to the proposal put forward by the parties like UML and Maoists to form the government based on co-existence.”

Going by all the reports of power sharing negotiations, we feel that Prime Minister Koirala is being too rigid. He must give respectable positions to the Maoist and UML in the cabinet. Koirala must not think that Nepali Congress is in majority in the House. This is a damn coalition parliament and that must be reflected in the formation of the government. In addition to that, CPN UML has the experience of running a government with their own Prime Minister. So Koirala should not put UML and Maoist in the same category. Yes, he can argue that giving Maoists portfolios like Home or Finance or Defense might bring complications but putting a UML guy in the Finance ministry will not harm anyone.

King Size Problem: How Much Property Do You Have, Your Majesty?

As the parties are indulging themselves in power sharing details the king has failed to respond to two letters sent to him by the government regarding the properties of the palace and kings, reports Wednesday tabloid Jana Astha. A special committee set up by the government is investigating the property details of the current and past kings, the royal palace and royal family members. There are three ministers in the committee. That committee had sent a letter to the palace Fagun 23 (three weeks ago) giving the king a weeks time to respond. No response came. The committee sent another letter on Chaitra 5 (19 March). “There were public holidays after the ultimatum of the first letter had finished and the palace had some comfort,” writes the weekly. The second letter also gave the king seven days to respond. That deadline also came and went. The paper quotes the unnamed sources that while blatantly ignoring the democratic government’s request to provide the property details the palace might be just waiting for this government to be dissolved (and also the special committee) as the parties are in the final stage of forming an interim government.

Election Update: 17.5 Million Voters for CA Polls

According to Dr. Nilkantha Upreti, an election commissioner, there will be around 17.5 million eligible voters in the forthcoming Constituent Assembly elections. Around 17,500 polling centres will have to be set up. The task of registering voters is 95 percent complete till now. He was speaking in a program “Democracy and Election in Nepal” in Kathmandu on 27 March. He said that the EC was still waiting for the enactment of three electoral legislations including the CA Members Election Bill, CA Court Bill, and the Bill on Political Parties.

Meanwhile, the parliament on Monday (March 26) passed two election related laws that will help the election commission to proceed with its plan of holding the CA election. The laws have the provision to punish those who spend lavishly in CA election. The parliament is yet to pass other three laws as demanded by the election commission.

The election constituency delineation commission has hold meeting with the election commission officials on Monday (March 26). The commission formed recently by the government has started its job from Monday. But the UML and Maoist members in parliament expressed surprise over the formation of the commission without the knowledge of parliament. Speaking in the parliament, chief whip of the Maoist, Dinanath Sharma, demanded the dismantling of the commission.

Terai (Gaur) problem: Terming the killing of 29 people in Gaur last week a “barbaric, heinous and unforgivable crime”, Madhesi intellectuals and professionals on Monday (March 26) denounced the gory killings allegedly committed by MPRF. Senior journalist Bijaya Kant Karna said that the incident has tarnished the image of Madhesi movement. Tula Narayan Sah, president of Terai Engineers’ Society said: MPRF failed to understand the sensitivity of the transition period. Government must take strong action against those involved in the incident and held end the culture of impunity.” Jeetendra Dev, general secretary of Loktantrik (democratic) Madhesi Organization said: “MPRF is guided by royalist elements and is bent on foiling the CA poll.”

Prachanda, the Maoist chairman, in an interview with Janadesh weekly newspaper (Tuesday, 27 March), has said that he thinks the MPRF is only a shield and other forces are active in creating Gaur-like incidents. He said that his party has asked the government to outlaw MPRF. “But the government said MPRF wasn’t an organization with people’s backing and if they are outlawed as an organization, that will have negative impact. After government said this, we said: then orders to arrest the so called leaders of the Forum must be issued immediately, all of them must be arrested and action must be taken against them.”

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25 thoughts on “Nepali in Transition: Updates on Political Developments”

  1. I think with the deteriorating security situation in the terai, we will not be able to hold CA elections by June. I think, it might take more than 1 year to hold the CA elections. By that time, the terai may want to break away from the rest of Nepal.
    We are going backwards in history. Before Prithvi Narayan Shah, Nepal was 22 and 24 separate kingdoms. Now, we will become 24 different republics based on caste and ethnicity. Its really really bad. Instead of uniting we are breaking away. We are balming ourselves, the royalists blame Maoists, the Maoists blame Girija and the Girija blames Madhav. This way we will become Rwanda. Let’s forget the past and come together. Time is running out.

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  2. I also agree with noname, looking at the Girija tantra and his governement failure goverence. I am fade up with these power hungry politicians. It would be good if someone who can run the country own his power meaning can decide things on time and act accordingly. I am not supporting the King, however, it frustrates me the way SPA’s, in particular Girija, working to give new face for Nepal.

    Girija is the one who might be involved in such notorious activities, who knows, dirty politics and dirty mentality. If he was serious then he by this time would have brought maoists in the government and work together to make new Nepal. Every party wants a respectable protofolios in the iterim governement, thats absolutely right demand. At the same time, why don’t they make like a package saying the mandate of the interim government is to furnish the task of CA polls as well as good goverence and maintain safety of people. Otherwise, people like me others could start thinking oh! what the hell these SPA’s are doing ? Put their frustration on SPA and start supporting king. Think what will happen one day come like that. It was becasue of failure of democratic government, people had thought of king as supportive however, king could not do good for people. Again they turn back to king and support corrupted leaders. You see what happens to Rayemajhi’s report, finally it become like previous one. How can we expect good governmence from such ill mentality politicians.

    God bless nepal.

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  3. WHY DONT YOU STOP APPROVING AUTOCRATIC AND ANTI-DEMOCRATIC COMMENTS AS POSTED BY NONAME AND JAY NEPAL.

    I DONT MIND IF YOU SUPPORT GYANENDRA OR WHOEVER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR UPRINGING, BUT GUYS YOU SHOULD WAKE UP NOW…….AND BE HUMAN, NOT SLAVES.

    ITS YOUR DAMN FOOLISHNESS TO MAKE SUCH COMMENTS REGARDING POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM.

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  4. yeah, STOP VIOLENCE has got all the ideas about smart politics , doesnt he? and he goes on to brand people as foolish who views do not amalgamate with his? where did you do your schooling? is that what they taught you?

    democarcy should be about making yourself compatible even with those you dont like. and you waffle about democracy here? its because of the fecklessness and slave mentality of people liek you that politicians are sucking the blood out of us all.

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  5. No. The situation has gone beyond the King, Maoists and the 7 parties. I don’t think any party alone can resolve the problem now. The best method for now is for the Maoists to accept the monarchy, the monarchy to remain ceremonial and the army to be fully mobilized to crush the JTMM in the terai. If we don’t unite now, we will all be hung separately. First the monarchy will be hung, then the 7 parties and then the Maoist “terrorists”. Remember, India even till today has not removed the “terrorist” tag from the Maoists.

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  6. Girija, for all his kubuddhi, is the only person in SPAM that i like now a days. Had it not been the iron will of Girija, nobody would had stopped the maoist from completely taking over the goverment.

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  7. I completely agree with replytoall. The old man has single handedly stopped the evil Maoists/communists from taking over. He is a hero.

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  8. Common dont go that far as proclaiming Girija a hero. He is infact the single biggest reason for the state of the country today. Right now he’s a necessary evil, thats it.

    Some people create circumstances and use that to rise. This is what Girija has always been and will always remain. Sick old fcuking bastard is what he is.

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  9. I completely agree with Patriot. The onld man has single handedly brought this country down to her knees. Had the old man not existed, neither would the maoists in Nepal.

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  10. We all know that Girija is responsible for the maoist problem we all are facing. Also to my knowledge, king Birendra’s soft heart or lack of political vision vision was the reason why maoist grew on to become an army.However, we cant keep on running after the history itself. Girija has his faults, probably more than anybody else in Nepal.

    So I dont think Girija is a hero. Patriot put it right, Girija is the necessary evil at this moment and has proved to be much more than necessary.

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  11. Believe me I am no fan of Girija Babu. If I had my way and Udaya Hussain were still alive I would like nothing more then to send Girija to for a week in Udaya Hussain’s torture chambers. I agree with Patriot that he is a necessary evil. Right now there is no one else to lead the interm govt. Given our choices he is the best we have – which speaks volumes about our political leadership.

    However, I disagree that Girija is to blame for creating the Maoists. That’s ridiculous.

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  12. whoever what ever says nc should not give dpm to maoist if its happen country would face maha-pralaya. thats the thing i can predict for a while.

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  13. Bhudai – sure putting the entire blame on Girija for the rise of Maoists would be giving Prachanda and his band of trigger-happy merry men a clean chit. But he being the most influential politician of our times promoted much of the culture that made Moaists strong and won them support of millions. We all know how smart he is and had he wanted there’d be no other who could’ve done more for the country than him. But he used his intelligent mind for all the wrong things by which we can safely conclude if theres any single person responsible for much of the woes of this country today, its none other than this sick old MFcuker. Again, we cant do without him today, which strikes me as the most ironic of all.

    Strange world we live in don’t we!

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  14. Look at him even now. His indiff towards Madhesis, Janjatis etc. and his unwillingness to share portfolio is creating the deadlock to form interim govt and putting the whole CA in jeopardy. And he is most relevant today only because of Maoists – a circumstance he somehow himself created.

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  15. Patriot: I agree it is ironic. A few years ago I did not hate anyone as much as Girija Prasad Koirala. Right now I pray that he doesn’t die – at least before the CA elections are held. He definetly could have done alot. His weakness or achillies heel was his daughter – Sujata Koirala. This Bi*tch stole so much money when Girija was in power – she really cleaned up. Ideally that entire Koirala clan needs to be dragged around the streets and hanged in public.

    But again the Maoists arose because of a variety of complex reasons. The balme goes to everyone – from the political leaders who didn’t take them seriously in the begining, authorized operation Kilo Sierra etc. to Birendra who didn’t authorize the use of the RNA to the Shah/Rana regimes who neglected and marginalized alot of the country. Girija is a mear pawn in the chain of events.

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  16. I also pray he doesnt die, not now. But I refuse to believe he was a “mere pawn in the chain of events”. Infact he was a significant party to all this mess. Maybe he didnt fathom the effects of his antics or didnt foresee the monster that Maoists would become (hes human afterall) but he had the brains, the means and the power to influence the country into a better direction. In this regard I give him -ve.

    Even now he doesnt exude any remorse and seems hell bent on holding to power till his last breath. Sure it might be a tactic to ward off comrades but why the hell does he still ignore Madhesis, Janjatis, Dalits etc. If this is also part of the tactic, is it worth it? Is it worth the consequences?

    So you see Bhudai, this grand daddy of Nepali politics might have a bigger role than you might want to believe.

    And w.r.t Sujata, I really dont have any comments. Shes lived off her old man all her life and the moment he’s dead, she’s finished.

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  17. Look, the cause playing the solution to the effect, is a fabricated hero in the minds of hollow men. This is one of Girija’s many avatars.

    Girija is also the man who has single-handedly suppressed the younger generation within his own party. He is also the man who had a vision about the “grand design” but did absolutely nothing to prevent it from materializing. He is also the feudalist, bahun-baad face of one part of the Nepali Congress.

    When Girija dies, his legacy will be marred with all of these images. He will not be remembered as the man who held the Maoists at bay. Rather, he will be remembered as the man whose lust for power outweighed any and every logical conviction that a truly democratic-minded leader would have delivered to his people, after over a decade and a half of unrelenting power.

    The Maoists have Prachanda. The Royalists have Gyandnedra. And of last but not least, the Bahunists have Girija.

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  18. Please do not pray in vain, let the chip fall where it may, and let the old man enjoy his last breath before his final days for its time for younger generation to take over.

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  19. Girija is going to be total failure if he will not change his strategies in politics. More he rules this country more this country is going to ruin. What I am seeing is he has no vision to unite the country. He is only after lust for power although he believes in democracy. But he is denying that many ethnic groups are being suppressed in this process even after the indtroduction of democracy since 2007. So his old-vision is not going to work here which needs to be drastically changed by introducing new system. This country is definately going to suffer critical civil war if the expectation of ethnic groups are not addressed properly, and at the end Girija will be blamed for that. Now country cannot run only by Brhaman and Chhetris which Girija should understand very clearly. Everyone is expecting their rights in power- sharing according to their geo-ethnic presence in the country. In which spaM specially Girij government is trying to play foul-game with the weapon of blamings but this is not going to longer last.

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  20. Prachanda, the Maoist chairman, in an interview with Janadesh weekly newspaper (Tuesday, 27 March), has said that he thinks the MPRF is only a shield and other forces are active in creating Gaur-like incidents. He said that his party has asked the government to outlaw MPRF. “But the government said MPRF wasn’t an organization with people’s backing and if they are outlawed as an organization, that will have negative impact. After government said this, we said: then orders to arrest the so called leaders of the Forum must be issued immediately, all of them must be arrested and action must be taken against them.”

    Hey what the f*&% is Prachande talking, he must be kidding? If that be applied he should be arrested and action must be taken against him and all his party carade……..

    what a joke!!!

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  21. It seems the bargain has ended or at least has entered into the last phase. Hope we will see a new government tomorrow.

    Eight-party meet posponed till Saturday; agreement on interim govt very close, say leaders. Parties intensify talks to resolve remaining differences

    Kantipur Report

    KATHMANDU, March 30 – Leaders of the major political parties have intensified discussions to sort out remaining differences blocking the formation of the interim government. However, the much-awaited eight-party meet that was supposed to begin at the PM’s Baluwatar residence Friday morning could not take place till 6 in the evening, though all top leaders of the eight parties are reported to have arrived at Baluwatar.

    According to a leader present in today’s discussions, only an informal meeting among PM Girija Prasad Koirala, CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and Maoist Chairman Prachanda took place in the afternoon.

    Meanwhile, the eight-party taskforce is holding a separate meeting at the PM’s residence. The members of the taskforce are trying to reach a “final consensus” on issues like distribution of ministerial portfolios, new government’s Code of Conduct, and its modus operandi, according to sources. Sources have said that if the three major parties reach an agreement, an eight party meeting would be held today and the decision as regards to the formation of the interim government would be made.

    The eight-party meet which was slated to begin at 10 in the morning today could not begin on time because of PM Koirala’s absence from his Baluwatar residence.

    Sources also said, a small cabinet would be formed today if the leaders can come to an agreement regarding the division of ministerial portfolios.

    It has also been said that whether or not the interim government would be formed would depend on the stand that Nepali Congress (NC) takes in the meeting.

    Sources claim that the interim government would be formed only if NC quits its stance that it should be given all the “major” ministries such as finance, home and defense, as well as the post of senior Deputy Prime Minister.

    Today’s meeting is being held according to the agreement reached by the leaders of the three major parties of the coalition– NC, CPN-UML and CPN-M—to immediately resolve the issue of ministerial portfolios in separate meetings.

    The formation of the interim government has reached its final stage after the leaders of the three major parties came to an agreement that the Interim Constitution would be amended, including the provision to let a two-third majority decide the fate of the king.

    Meanwhile, the sitting of the Interim Legislature-Parliament scheduled for today has not yet started.

    Earlier this morning, various parties had held internal consultations.

    It has been said that if the leaders reach an understanding, the interim government would be formed today and also approved by today’s parliamentary sitting, which will begin later today.

    Meanwhile CPN-UML has sought the PM’s attention towards not forming the interim government in installments.

    UML, stating that one party getting all the important ministries would be against the norms of a coalition government, urged the PM to ensure fair participation of all parties in the interim government.

    The interim government formation process had been delayed after the NC took a stand that it be given charge of the finance, defense and home ministry.

    The UML central committee—which held a meeting in the party office at Balkhu today—will present proposals regarding the procedure for running the interim government, the interim government code of conduct and the second amendment to the interim constitution in the eight-party meet which will begin this afternoon.

    Although it has been said that the UML central committee meeting would decide the names of the leaders who would represent their party in the interim government, no formal announcement has been made yet.

    Posted on: 2007-03-30 02:38:59 (Server Time)

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  22. Cabinet portfolios divided, Maoists get five berths

    The day-long discussion at Baluwatar has finalised cabinet berths in the interim cabinet, which will have the representation of the Maoists.

    According to reports, Nepali Congress, UML and Maoists will get five berths each; NC-Democratic will get three berths whereas People’s Front (PF), United Leftist Front (ULF) and Nepal Sadbhavana Party – Anandidevi (NSP-A) will get one berth each.

    The reports add that there will be no deputy prime minister in the interim cabinet. As per the understanding, the NC – apart from keeping the Prime Minister’s post – will bag Defense; Home; Finance and newly created Peace and Rehabilitation portfolios. The UML will bag Foreign Affairs; Education and Sports; Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation; Agriculture and Cooperatives and General Administration portfolios.

    The Maoists will bag Information and Communication; Local Development; Works and Physical Planning; Forest and Soil Conservation and Women, Children and Social Welfare portfolios.

    NC-Democratic will bag Labour and Transport Management; Water Resources and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs portfolios.

    The NSP-A will get the Industry, Commerce and Supplies portfolio; ULF will get Land Reforms and Management; and PF will get Health portfolios.

    The names of the ministers, however, have not been made public. It is reported that parties will forward their name lists on Saturday morning to be made public through parliamentary meeting scheduled to begin at 11 am.

    Furthermore, besides the 21 members of cabinet, the bigger parties could also have junior ministers. The total size of the council of ministers, however, is expected to remain below 25.

    The broad understanding on portfolio distribution followed intense bilateral and multilateral meetings among leaders of eight political parties in Baluwatar.

    Meanwhile, the meeting also worked to finalise five point pact ahead of decision on interim government formation.

    “We have almost finalised it,” said Arjun Narsingh KC, senior leader of NC. He said that the five points include five different issues such as implementation of all earlier pacts; formulation of Common Minimum Programme (CMP); formulation of code of conduct for interim cabinet; formulation of working procedure; and formation of joint monitoring committee of the eight parties to steer the government. nepalnews.com sd Mar 30 07

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