History in Nepal: Interim Government With Maoists Takes Oath

By Dinesh Wagle
[Here is details of what happened in parliament today And here is list of ministers]

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala resigned from the post of Prime Minister today only to be reappointed, this time by the parliament, to the same position within half an hour. [Historically, PMs in Nepal have been appointed by the king.] Prime Minister Koirala, who is also the acting Head of State of Nepal because the king is constitutionally in the state of suspension, is heading an interim government that has several other parties -most notably the Maoist, former rebel- in the cabinet. Koirala, appointed for the record 6th time as the Prime Minister, first took the oath in Parliament and administered the same to his ministers. Before all these developments, Nepali people saw intense meetings of parties to finalize the details of the coalition. Some unexpected problems emerged as parties saw some portfolios were removed (the disappearance of the post of Deputy PM hit the Amik Serchen’s Jana Morcha the most).

I am thrilled to see the Maoists MPs taking oath of the ministerial posts. The induction of the Maoists in the government has sent waves of hope to Nepali people who are desperately looking forward to the successful completion of the peace process. There are some people, most notably the royalists, who are firmly against the Maoist involvement in the government. Also the United States is against it. According to news reports, American ambassador James F Moriarty yesterday met Prime Minister Koirala in the latter’s official residence and suggested to drop the idea of inducting the Maoists in the government as it would be dangerous to until they surrender all their weapons. That might a point to be noted but weapons are not only the major problem right now. We believe that the Maoist presence in the government will help in making the peace process a success to that many people who suffered during the decade long insurgency would not have to suffer again.

[A personal note: I am the happiest man today! Lately I have been seeing some commentators branding me as Maoist mouthpiece or pro-Maoist which, I think, doesn’t deserve to be dignified by my response. I think I should be the one who is firmly against the Maoist induction in the government- but I am not and I have reasons for that- because just a day before yesterday my parents returned from the village after local Maoist cadres didn’t let them stay in home. Wagles had recently gone to Duragaun village of Ramechhap district to claim the property and home that always belonged to them but was captured by the Maoists for the last several years. The local Maoist cadres didn’t return them the lands, didn’t let them use their property and didn’t let them stay in the house. News reports that came from Manthali, the district headquarters, and appeared in several newspapers in Kathmandu three days ago suggested the local Maoist cadres came to my home and forced my mother to leave the home. The district leadership stated that they didn’t have the policy of not returning the properties and assured that they investigate the matter.

As a member of the family, how do I feel about that incident? Obviously, I am outraged and I feel this is a violation of the agreement that the Maoist signed with the government. At the same time I strongly want to believe that this is an isolated case and that Maoist will soon be able to solve this problem. I want to believe that Maoist leadership is fully committed to the peace process and competitive politics. I want to give them the benefit of doubt for the sake of the peace process. That’s what as an individual I can do and as a family we can do as a contribution to the peace process. I know how much difficulties my family has been facing because of the capturing of the land and property. Let me look it from the-glass-is-half-FULL angle. For me and my parents, to be able to go to home is itself an achievement and we are hopeful that we will see more improvements in coming days. I am sure there are many people out there who would be happy in sacrificing their personal interests for the broad national interest. I wish all the best to the interim government. We must be able to vote in the election of Constituent Assembly in 20 June, yes, without any fears.]

Deadlock Ends, Parties Agree. Constituent Assembly Election on June 20

GIRIJA PRASAD KOIRALA APPOINTED INTERIM PRIME MINISTER BY THE INTERIM PARLIAMENT UNANIMIOUSLY AS PER THE CLAUSE 38 (1) OF THE INTERIM CONSTITUTION, A HISTORIC MOMENT Now the country has formally entered into the interim phase and is now heading towards the election of Constituent Assembly. Below is the blow by blow account of the historical session of the parliament:

Prachanda on KTV, Live from Parliament House

This is a historical day, milestone in a process of making new Nepal. I am also wondering what will happen mentality of Nepali until yesterday. We haven’t returned to the old place, but have come with new agenda. The main task is to take the country in right way towards the election of CA. We will be centered to provide immediate relief to people. Their, we will try to orient Nepal to new direction. We will move forward even more responsibly after our induction to the cabinet. We have agreed in the eight party meeting that if anyone tries to obstruct the CA election, we will announce republic right on this parliament. There will be no two armies. Now, the official army of the State will be there.

14:07 Prime Minister Koirala administering the oath to the state ministers.

14:06 Koirala is shaking hands with ministers. He is visibly happy. Now the names of the State ministers is being called.

14:03 Prime Minister Koirala administering the oath to the ministers.

14:02 Prime Minister Koirala about to administer the oath to the ministers. The name of the ministers is being called.

[Meanwhile Nepali Congress has unveiled the list of ministers who will represent the pary in the cabinet. Ram Chandra Poudel will be the minister for Peace and Rehabilitation. Krishna Prasad Sitaula will continue as Home Minister while Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat will continue with Finance portfolio. Mahantha Thakur will be Science and Technology minister. But who will be the Defense minister hasn’t been clear as yet. Most probably, Prime Minister Koirala will retain the portfolio himself. Plus, the name of one state minister that NC can included in the Cabinet has also not been named yet.]

13:26The House is adjourned for an hour, speaker Nemwang notifies.

13:25 Koirala: Thanks to all Member of Parliament friends. If eight parties help unanimously, we will be able to restore peace. If we work together, we will be able to reach the destination. I want to request the newly entered members of parliament that if you don’t obstruct the house in agitation, we will reach our destination. Some say there is no opposition in parliament. Considering today’s situation, if we move forward including all, we will be successful. Pashupati Shumser ji is saying he will play the role of opposition. That is also a meaningful thing. The constitution has the provision that the PM will be nominated by two thirds of majority. That means there is provision of opposition. We are slowly entering into the system. Keep patience because patience is the biggest thing. Today, a new chapter has begun in the history of Nepal. We must move forward in unity to reach out destination….I want to assure that law and order will be restored right from today. Why talk more? I want to show you from my action. If I can’t, I will come in front of you.

13:13 Speaker Nemwang congratulates the newly appointed PM Koirala for unanimous appointment.

13:13 KOIRALA APPOINTED PM UNANIMOUSLY BY THE PARLIAMENT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF NEPAL. Now he is taking oath in parliament which is also the first in Nepal.

13:13 Yagyajeet Shah: I congratulate Girija Prasad Koirala and wish for his successful tenure. This is a historical moment as Maoists are also joining the government. The biggest agenda in front of him is to hold the free and fair election of CA. The election is not just for eight parties, it’s for whole nation. They didn’t consult with our party Nepal Sadbhbavana Party and we have been hurt. Why did they put us in the parliament if they wanted to ignore us?

13:04 Pari Thapa: I congratulate Koirala on behalf of our party. The executive has now turned into the interim as the legislature and constitution had already been interim. I also wish for Koirala’s good health. Now Maoists have also joined the government. There is a saying in Hindi: Jaap upar to jaao, tab dekhoga tumhara baap. We will see how you guys work. CA election has become Sisyphus’s myth. Now Koirala has the responsibility to push the stone. In that process, if you guys face any difficulties, we will be here to help you.

13:02 Surya Bahadur Thapa: I congratulate the PM. The CPN Maoist has entered into the peace process constitutionally and formally entered to the national mainstream of politics. Let’s hope all obstacles, difficulties will end. People are in the state of prisoners, I hope they will be liberated. This is not the time to backbite. This is the time to trust. RJP fully trusts the interim government.

12:57 Chitra Bahadur KC: This is a time when Nepali people are determined to establish republicanism by ending feudalism. The games played during the formation of this interim government are proof that we haven’t learned from past mistakes. The only aim is to hold the election of CA, establishing republicanism and ending regression forever. We haven’t been able to establish good security. The question of nationality is very grave. We can’t escape by just blaming the regressive forces. We must also evaluate out history and must not repeat the history and fulfill our commitments to people. Power (Satta) is not everything. We are supporting Koirala for his role in democratic movement. It’s not difficult for him. Uhalai manchhe chalayera matra hoina, bahg chalayera khanu parne abastha chha. The differences among parties are less important, the most important thing is to defeat regressive elements.

12:52 Pashupati Shumser JBR: Even though we are in opposition, we will play helpful and positive role in the peace process. This is a very important in the peace process. RPP wants to congratulate the PM Koirala. I would also like to give free advice, though 8 parties don’t have the habit of taking advice, they must solve the problem of Terai via talks after PM returns from SAARC meeting. Eight parties must not be in illusion that Nepali people are their servants. They are capable in having one agreement after another….now those agreements must be implemented. The pitiable condition of the security situation can’t be described by one thousand tongues of shesh naag but the Gaur incident said it all. There is no environment in the country to move freely. What kind of democracy is this?…Accept the presence of opposition. All sides must be included in the local bodies.

12:47Narayanman Bijukchhe: He is criticizing the power sharing negotiations as bhagbanda. “How can you say you are going to hold election in Asar 6 when there is provision in the constition that the election must be held within Jestha?” he asked.

12:42 Kaman Singh Lama of Jana Morcha, supporting the proposal, said: This government’s task is to hold the election of the CA and declare republicanism in Nepal. If the election is not held in Asar 6, that will be considered deceiving Nepal.

12:39 MPs representing other partners in the coalition are also going to the rostrum and supporting the proposal.

12:37 UML MP Mahendra Pandey and Maoist MP Dinanath Sharma went on the rostrum to support the proposal. Pandey said the country wanted democratic republican and has choosen the election of the CA as the way for that. Dinanath Sharma congratulated PM Koirala.

12:34 Nepali Congress MP Ananda Prasad Dhungana is tabling a proposal that asks the parliament to appoint Koirala as the Interim PM as per the political agreement.

12:32 Speaker Nemwang is readin out the resignation of the PM. Koirala has resigned. The letter from eight parties is also being read by Nemwang that has recommended Koirala for the post of PM.

12:29 The parliament is about to set for the historic session. The Prime Minister has reached inside the parliament building and taken his seat.

Deadlock over the seniority in the cabinet portfolio ended this morning in a meeting of eight political parties in Baluwataar. The CPN UML abandoned its earlier stand that its woman- Sahana Pradhan- should have the number 2 position in the cabinet. Nepali Congress’s Ram Chandra Poudel will be the most senior member in the cabinet after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala. On the other hand, after the breakthrough in Baluwataar, the parliament has issued the working list for the day. The government is expected to be formed within hours. In a landmark decision, the eight parties (SPA and Maoist) also decided to hold the election of the constituent assembly on 20 June (6 Asar). And yes, this is definitely not the April Fool’s gag!