Good News: Janajatis for Constituent Assembly Elections

The government and agitating Indigenous groups finally ink a 20-point deal paving road for the CA elections

Again it seems like the CA election is happening on time. The Maoists are still not sure about it but more importantly, it appears, is that they are not sure about their victory. Anyway, the latest Prachanda formula is to use the election as a form of revolt or uprising. They have kept their bargaining cards of declaring republic and proportionate electoral system but hopefully they won’t be disturbing the biggest democratic process that is going to take place in November. It also seems the government has reached some kind of agreement with the Madhesi Janadhikar Fourm though formally both sides haven’t acknowledged the positive development. They have just said that they will come back to the talks table with the aim of addressing all the issues raised by all agitating Madhesi groups. So far so good. The government yesterday scored a success in bringing in the agitating Janajatis in the election fold. Kosh Raj Koirala in the Kathmandu Post writes:

The government, the agitating Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and the ruling eight-party aligned Indigenous Nationalities Joint Struggle Committee (INJSC) finally inked a 20-point deal on Tuesday (yesterday). Both NEFIN and INJSC have withdrawn all their protest programs and announced they will make the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) election a success following the agreement reached after 10-rounds of negotiations. The deal was signed by Minister for Peace and Reconstruction, Ram Chandra Poudel on behalf of the government,and Dr Om Gurung and K B Gurung on behalf of the agitating Janajaatis. Talking to media persons, coordinator of NEFIN talks team, Dr Om Gurung, said “The government has fulfilled our demands to a large extent. We have now decided to withdraw all protest programs and actively participate in the movement for Constituent Assembly poll,” he added.

Highlights of the Agreement

1. 240 CA seats under First-Past-the-Post system to be “proportionately inclusive”

2. Constitutional guarantee of at least one representative from all 59 indigenous groups in the CA

3. Alternative arrangement for representation of groups failing to get elected through either the proportional or first-past-the-post system

4. Formation of State Restructuring Commission (SRC) soon

5. Govt to adopt ILO convention number 169; ratify UN declarations on the rights of indigenous people

6. Women from indigenous nationalities to get priority in development plans and programs

7. Recognition of local languages as official languages in government offices.

But Limbuwaan, Khumbuwaan strike paralyses eastern Nepal: Normal life across 16 districts in eastern Nepal has been crippled yesterday, the first day of three-day transport strike jointly called by two agitating ethnic groups in the region. Federal Limbuwaan State Council (FLSC) and Khumbuwaan National Front (KNF) called the bandh to press for their major demands such as autonomy with rights to self determinism and proportionate electoral system. (source)