Carter Center Election Observation Mission in Nepal: Latest Report

Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal released its 5-point observations and recommendations yesterday

“Now is the time for the government of Nepal to demonstrate its genuine intention to hold a credible constituent assembly election on November 22, 2007. The parties must come together to convince the people of their dedication to this goal, take immediate steps to gain the confidence of marginalized groups, and address the poor security environment so that the peace process continues to progress.”former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

This statement presents the observations and continued findings of the Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal. In March 2007, the mission deployed 13 long-term observers (LTOs) representing nine different nationalities throughout Nepal to assess the political and electoral environment in the period leading up to the constituent assembly election. The Center’s observers have visited all of Nepal’s 75 districts, in many cases multiple times, reaching not only to district headquarters but also to the village level.

The observations and recommendations below build upon the Carter Center’s previous pre-election statement and are based on information gathered by the Center’s headquarters staff and long-term observers in meetings with electoral authorities, government officials, political party and civil society leaders, security officials, Nepali citizens, and representatives of the international community.

The Carter Center conducts election observation activities in a nonpartisan, professional manner in accordance with applicable Nepali law and international standards for election observation as set forth in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The Center coordinates closely with other international and domestic observer delegations and publishes statements of its findings and recommendations on its Web site: http://www.cartercenter.org. The goal of the Center’s mission in Nepal is to demonstrate international support for and provide an independent assessment of the constituent assembly election process. The Center hopes that its activity will help ensure a credible process that is accepted by the people of Nepal and which serves to consolidate the gains of the ongoing peace process.

INTRODUCTION

Nepal has embarked upon a challenging and historic process of transition to sustainable peace and inclusive multi-party democracy. A critical component of this larger process, as laid out in the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), is a constituent assembly (CA) election that will lead to the drafting of a new constitution. Despite the issues The Carter Center outlines below, the Center continues to believe that a Nov. 22, 2007, election remains an achievable goal for Nepal. However, as time is now short and another electoral delay may undermine the legitimacy of the government, urgent, unified, and effective action is required on several fronts.

The primary burden of effort rests upon the governing Eight Party Alliance (EPA), though there are important roles for marginalized groups, individual political parties, civil society, and the international community to play. Thus far Nepal has made remarkable strides in a short period of time and all stakeholders – not least the Nepali people themselves – are to be commended for this substantial achievement. However, it is essential that the government and other stakeholders commit to addressing all pending challenges promptly in order to solidify the gains of the peace process and ensure continued progress.

KEY POINTS:

1. Demonstrate commitment to a credible constituent assembly election in November

Reports from Carter Center observers indicate a gap in trust between the people of Nepal and the present interim government, particularly at the central level. There remain doubts about the commitment of all parties in the Eight Party Alliance to the Nov. 22 election date. Recent Maoist pre-conditions relating to the declaration of a republic and large-scale revisions to the electoral system, made after all-party agreements were reached on these topics, do not help to instill confidence. Additionally, continued Maoist violence and aggressive behavior force the public to question the Maoists’ genuine interest in participating fully in the democratic process. The recent agreement between the government and a Janajati alliance is a positive and praiseworthy development. However, Nepalis from other historically marginalized groups remain concerned by what appears to be a lack of serious commitment to ensuring that they are sufficiently included in the ongoing political process. Finally, the fragile security situation, particularly in the Terai, provokes both short and long-term anxiety about the country’s future direction.

At present, there are only approximately 100 days until the planned CA election. Thus, from an electoral standpoint, the country is at a period in which discussions on changes to the election system must be brought to a close. Any final adjustments should take place immediately or be postponed for future elections in order to ensure the Election Commission has adequate time to prepare for the November election. Another electoral delay may undermine the legitimacy of the present interim government, which has as one of its core mandates the holding of the constituent assembly election. The Center is encouraged by the unity between the eight political parties that has been maintained throughout the peace process thus far, and is hopeful that they will sustain such coordination throughout the constituent assembly election.

The EPA government should take immediate and visible steps to restore the faith of the Nepali people in its commitment to the November constituent assembly election. An all-party statement pledging to conduct the election on time and abide by a code of conduct, backed up at the local level by political party election preparation and programs, will demonstrate the government’s dedication to the task at hand.

2. Take practical, concrete steps to address the concerns of marginalized groups

The CA Member Election Act has incorporated significant provisions for the inclusion of marginalized groups, which The Carter Center believes will ultimately have a far-reaching impact on Nepali politics and society. Additionally, The Carter Center congratulates the government and the Janajatis on the recently agreed 20-point understanding and hopes that this will set a positive precedent for other agitating groups. Other historically marginalized groups in Nepal such as Madhesis, women, Dalits, Muslims, and the disabled continue to press the government on a variety of demands. Some of these are specifically related to the election, such as the call for a fully proportional electoral system. However, many of the grievances go beyond electoral concerns. Regardless of the category, in most cases the main concern appears to be that the government is not sufficiently responsive and may not fulfill even promises it has already made.

In order to gain the trust of these marginalized groups and ensure they do not become spoilers in the CA election process, the government should not only continue with its ongoing negotiations but also implement specific, practical actions to gain these groups’ confidence. This is especially important in the Terai given the widespread mistrust toward the government. Additionally, the Center hopes that marginalized groups will realize that it is neither possible nor advisable to resolve all of their demands before the CA election. Some issues, such as state restructuring, are arguably best left for popularly elected representatives of the Nepali people to debate so that the final decision is viewed as legitimate. Moreover, the Center encourages these groups to consider that the gains to be had by holding the election under the currently proposed electoral system are likely to be greater than those achieved by stalling it. Compromise will be necessary from all sides to ensure that the peace process moves forward.

The government should promptly implement all agreements reached with marginalized groups, continue ongoing negotiations, and take further action in line with the spirit of the interim constitution. Additionally, leaders of marginalized groups should keep in mind the short time period left before the CA election and seek reasonable compromises so that their constituents are ultimately able to reap the benefits of the constituent assembly process.

3. Agree on a comprehensive security plan for the Terai and the rest of the country

The poor security situation in various parts of the country presents worrisome implications for the election. In particular, the Carter Center’s LTOs continue to receive reports of violence, extortion, and abduction by armed groups in the Terai. While the Center believes that the unrest could be significantly calmed if the government, through negotiations, takes additional timely measures to address the legitimate grievances of the Madhesi people, it is also necessary to simultaneously develop and implement an effective security plan in collaboration with Madhesi leaders to address ongoing criminal activity. Force should be used strategically and sensitively so as not to contribute to further alienation. However, it is of the utmost importance to re-establish police posts and ensure that well-trained, inclusive security forces receive sufficient political backing from the central level. Adequate security is necessary not just on election day, but also throughout the electoral process in order to allow for sufficient preparation by district election offices, voter education groups, and political parties.

Additionally, Maoist cadres and the Maoist-affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) persist with activities that violate the May 2006 Code of Conduct. The Maoist leadership is in a difficult position, having both to live up to their agreed commitments in the peace accord and to mollify increasingly vocal hardliners questioning the benefits of the peace process. Other political parties should consider that it is in the nation’s interest to help the Maoists with their successful transition to peace. Such support could include realistic discussions on how best to address the issue of the YCL and a willingness to engage in preliminary discussions on difficult questions regarding Security Sector Reform (SSR) and the process for integration of the People’s Liberation Army and Nepal Army laid out in the November 2006 arms management agreement.

However, the Maoists should also realize that their aggressive behavior continues to negatively affect the ongoing transition process and does not serve them well in their attempts to win the hearts and minds of the Nepali people and the international community. Maoist and YCL cadres need to cease all such behavior in order to demonstrate to the people of Nepal their desire to play a positive part in the ongoing peace process. Finally, if the upcoming constituent assembly election is to take place in a free and fair environment, and if voters are to be allowed to make informed choices, all political parties must be allowed to move and campaign freely across the country – regardless of their ideology.

The Center reiterates the need for the EPA government, in direct consultation with all relevant stakeholders such as Madhesi community leaders, to jointly develop a comprehensive and effective security plan in order to ensure a conducive environment in the Terai and around the country throughout the constituent assembly election process. Continued Maoist and YCL violence and aggressive behavior force the public to question the Maoists’ genuine interest in participating fully in the democratic process; all acts in violation of the Comprehensive Peace Accord must cease immediately.

4. Maintain electoral focus and momentum

The Carter Center is encouraged that the interim legislature-parliament has passed the Constituent Assembly Members Election Act. This Act sets out the electoral system for the CA and represents a significant step forward in electoral preparations. While there are a number of technical issues in the Act that remain to be resolved before the electoral system can be implemented, the Center is confident that the Election Commission’s regulations and directives will, for the most part, be able to remedy the existing gaps.

However, numerous provisions in the Act seem to place excessive trust in the political parties, with few mechanisms for accountability should they not live up to this trust. The most significant is the political decision to allow parties to assign candidates from the proportional representation (PR) list to the seats the party has won after the election. This practice has been used in only two other countries, Guyana and Serbia, and was widely condemned by observers as non-transparent for the voters and encouraging excessive party control over candidates. There is no reason to believe that its effects will be any different in Nepal. Additionally, it is possible this provision will further exacerbate internal party tensions as the party leadership engages in the controversial process of picking its winners, rather than providing resolution and closure in an already fragile, post-conflict context.

Consequently, political parties should submit and publish ranked candidate lists even though it is not required by law, in order to demonstrate their interest in allowing their own party’s voters to know exactly who they will be electing. Parties that do not follow this model should at a minimum ensure that after the election they pick competent individuals who are seen as legitimate leaders of the groups they are chosen to represent. The Center also strongly recommends that this provision for unranked PR lists not be carried forward in any future elections in Nepal.

The Center is supportive of the quotas for marginalized groups laid out on the proportional representation side of the election; however, the system ultimately selected is likely to be logistically complicated to implement. Though other, smaller marginalized groups (such as Muslims) were intended to be provided for under the interim constitution, they have been left out in the election law and the “other groups” category transformed into a reservation for all other Nepalis. The likely result of this new interpretation of the constitution will be that the “other” category is filled entirely by Brahmins and Chhetris.

Finally, confusion exists among the Nepali public over how the election system will actually work, and has resulted in suspicion from various marginalized groups that the government will use loopholes to deny them their rightful seats. It would behoove the government to ensure that accurate information is widely circulated in order to allay unnecessary concerns. There are several other outstanding electoral issues including legislation on the Constitutional Court and a final decision on electoral constituency boundaries that must be addressed in order for the Election Commission to finalize preparations for the CA election. These should be addressed immediately. It is also suggested that the Election Commission consider an extended period of party registration, given the postponement of the election from June to November. This could potentially provide an additional avenue for inclusion of marginalized groups by re-opening the opportunity for them to field political parties.

Given that the election is only approximately 100 days away, any final adjustments to the electoral law must take place immediately. Additionally, the Election Commission should remedy the existing technical gaps in the electoral law, clarify provisions that are causing confusion, and consider extending the period for political party registration. The government is also encouraged to make all outstanding legal and electoral decisions related to the Constitutional Court and the electoral constituency boundaries immediately. Finally, the Center highlights its serious concern regarding party selection of winning proportional representation candidates after the election and encourages parties to publish ranked candidate lists voluntarily.

5. Ensure a widespread, coordinated and effective voter education campaign and domestic observer presence

As noted in previous Carter Center pre-election statements, the government, Election Commission, political parties, civil society, and the international community have important roles in creating far-reaching and effective voter education and awareness campaigns. Providing the people of Nepal with opportunities for discussion about the special role of a constituent assembly election and how the new mixed electoral system will work will allow for an educated electorate that is able to make an informed choice on election day. Some encouraging efforts are underway by the election commission and civil society groups.

Additionally, an impartial and well-coordinated domestic observation presence is important for the constituent assembly election process. At present, there are several networks of organizations planning to observe the election, and the Center encourages these groups to work together to ensure that their efforts do not accidentally work at cross-purposes. There should be no competition between these different alliances as they all have the same goal: a non-biased, comprehensive review of Nepal’s electoral process. Donors and partner international organizations should encourage such collaboration while also stressing the importance of impartiality.

The Center encourages the government, the election commission, political parties, civil society and the international community to collaborate in order to implement a successful and far-reaching voter education campaign. Additionally, domestic observer groups should coordinate to generate plans for impartial and comprehensive election monitoring throughout Nepal.

CONCLUSION

Nepal continues to make significant progress in its ongoing peace process. The passage of the Constituent Assembly Members Election Act and continuing preparations by the Election Commission are positive signs that preparations are on track for the Nov. 22 election date. However, a strong, visible commitment from all political parties backed up by action on the ground as soon as possible is necessary in order to ensure that the agreed-upon goal of a November constituent assembly election is achieved. A second electoral delay is likely to harm the interim government’s credibility domestically and abroad.

Challenges remain and must be addressed quickly given the short timeframe. There is a need for the present government to build trust with the people of Nepal and specifically with historically marginalized groups in the manner it has successfully done so with Janajatis. It is also necessary for the government, in conjunction with all key stakeholders, to create and implement immediately an effective security plan for the country and particularly the Terai, where the involvement of security forces with substantial Madhesi participation and Madhesi community leaders will be of the utmost importance. Finally, the Center encourages the government to maintain electoral focus and momentum and for all relevant actors to participate in widespread voter education efforts and well-coordinated, impartial domestic observation efforts. None of these obstacles are insurmountable given sufficient political will and commitment by key actors. The Center believes that the above measures, taken in sum, will significantly contribute to creating an atmosphere conducive for the conduct of the November constituent assembly election.

The Center offers the above observations and recommendations in the spirit of cooperation and respect, and with the hope that they will provide useful discussion points for future action. The Center wishes to thank the Nepali officials, political party members, civic activists, and citizens, as well as representatives of the international community who have generously offered their time and energy to facilitate the Center’s efforts to observe the constituent assembly election process.

“Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.”

The Carter Center celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2007. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. Please visit http://www.cartercenter.org to learn more about The Carter Center.

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131 thoughts on “Carter Center Election Observation Mission in Nepal: Latest Report”

  1. It is all embarrasing foreigner have to teach the whole thing. Nobody cares much about anything busy surviving and laughing at each other.
    I have not many expectations from the entire elections. the violence is going up as foreseen now, repression will be similar. People will vote or not even go as always. Does it make a difference? If maoists win we dont like, if non maoist win it will be like this. With or without american wonderful assistance. There is a radio station closed down. That is freedom?

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  2. Patriot:
    “But my reasoning is how will it not be worse off if G & Paras are around, and I dont think anyone will argue this either.”

    Uhhhh we are going round and round with this. It’s difficult to say for sure whether Nepal will be better or worse off with having the institution of Monarchy around.
    I am yet to read any argument which convinces me off the later.

    “Think it like this – from the way it looks, Maoists are best positioned to lose or be marginalized. Madhesis hate them, Janjatis are taking their fights themselves.”

    I wish it were that simple. The Maoists aren’t just finished. They definitely won’t do well in the elections but they are still capable of causing major havoc in the form of street protests and other sinister activities. Don’t forget that Jana Andolan II was successful not because of the will of the people but because of the streets! They still own the streets and therefore they are still capable of doing anything. No other group has this power – not the SPA not the Janjatis nor the madeshis.

    I am not saying let’s bring G back into an absolute role. This is an old argument but I am just comfortable with only two forces existing in Nepal – the SPA and the Maoists. Somehow, maybe it’s just for sentimental value, the Monarchy still in the mind represents a third force. Whether you like it or not, it still gives Nepal a sense of national identity and a sense of unity. Had things turned out for the better maybe you could say the Monarchy has lost relevance but I certainly don’t think it’s lost relevance today.

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  3. khuching, khuching..

    Nepali media takes the taste of people’s uprising
    Monday, 13 August 2007
    Kathmandu, 13 August: Majority of leaders of CPN-UML moving went underground following the abolishment of government lead by president of Nepali Congress Democratic (NC-D) in 2003, reports Jankary weekly.
    America and India abstaining from commenting on the royal takeover had initiated an analysis of the incident, encouraging political parties to oppose it. Nepali media had taken the front line in course of the uprising. During the agitation by seven parties Kantipur Publication was dubbed as the eighth party. At the publication’s initiation, a man’s forehead was smeared with blood like color, blaming it on police action to defame the royal regime, coinciding with the conclusion of the uprising after 19 days of agitation.
    Nepali media in violation of its’ code of conduct literary supported the uprising which was fruitful. Due to the success the eight party alliances are taking the benefit of the regime conversion.
    People’s News/SS

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  4. khuching, khuching..

    Nepali media takes the taste of people’s uprising
    Monday, 13 August 2007
    Kathmandu, 13 August: Majority of leaders of CPN-UML moving went underground following the abolishment of government lead by president of Nepali Congress Democratic (NC-D) in 2003, reports Jankary weekly.
    America and India abstaining from commenting on the royal takeover had initiated an analysis of the incident, encouraging political parties to oppose it. Nepali media had taken the front line in course of the uprising. During the agitation by seven parties Kantipur Publication was dubbed as the eighth party. At the publication’s initiation, a man’s forehead was smeared with blood like color, blaming it on police action to defame the royal regime, coinciding with the conclusion of the uprising after 19 days of agitation.
    Nepali media in violation of its’ code of conduct literary supported the uprising which was fruitful. Due to the success the eight party alliances are taking the benefit of the regime conversion.
    People’s News/SS

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  5. KG took over power in October 2002 when he dismissed the Deuba govt.

    From Oct 2002 till Feb 1 2005 he appointed several puppet govt’s. From Feb 1, 2005 he took ‘direct’ control of the govt. until he was forced to retreat by the street drama conducted by the Maoists and the SPA in April 2006.

    So he effectively exercised control over this country for more than three years from Oct 2002 till April 2006.

    What did he achieve? He managed to alienate the SPA. Made no significant gains military or otherwise against the Maoists. Managed to alienate India, US and Britain. Without their support the RNA was severely weakened in terms of arms and logistics. What progress did the country make in terms of peace and stability during his reign? None.

    Why do you guys want KG back? And amazingly Bhudai why do you call it the good ole days? You guys are the ‘thinking’ people or idiots? Let me know.

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  6. Now people are starting to compare present rule and KG rule because of the chaos situation and sovereignity of the country.

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  7. Spam can not even say a word against the dams built illegally by India that has caused hundreds of innocent Nepali lives. This is the new nepal, which can only fit in history books now. No one can control this country now. With partisan media, over expectant people, incompetent leaders, weak army, inefficient government insitutions, institutionalized corruption, impunity, extreme poverty, failed economy, blatant anarchy, absence of law and order…this country is no longer manageable by any political force whether internal or external.

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  8. Kirat,
    the trouble did not begin so conveniently with the King “dismissing” Deuba who was anyway appointed by the King in the first place to hold elections. The trouble began when the elected parliament was dissolved by a sitting parliament and PM, thus making a mockery out of the constitution and democracy. Hence the head of state (i.e. the King) had to ask for someone to come and form a government , Deuba obliged. Even after dismissing Deuba he invited the SPA to get together and form a govt. – they would not agree come hell or high water (as they were all in cahouts with the maiosts like I mentoined before to save their own hides). It’s no surprise that not one maoist senior leader was killed – now we know that besides I’m sure others, people like Krishna Sitaula must have been tipping his brother-in-law off about all previous secirity operations.
    I’m afraid you are just selling the SPA argument after buying their bs.

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  9. dear kirat,
    your kinds are the biggest threat to nepal. you willingly brought maoist to power. and when you cant support anymore maoist you will be the first to go kiss previously elites ass.(gyane ass included).

    when you said that the maoist are getting weak and loosing credibility. friend what credibility they had to start with. what in turn you are doing is raising kings profile.

    when you run an gurilla army disagreements in mode of operations are very common, its just now the disagreements of the maoist come more to light. to think that they are falling apart is ………..(i give u the liberation to fill up the blanks). if you believe that they have grown weak then im sure you really believed them when they said their guns washed away. O i forgot u did believe in the maoist.

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  10. S 1:17-don’t make me laugh. I never supported the Maoists (i’m a businessman and thus a capitalist by nature). But inorder to stop the escalating violence a peaceful outlet had to be provided for them (have you heard of such a thing as a soft landing?). The continuance of the military stalemate is something only people like you could be happy with. Don’t worry about me ever supporting KG again-I gave him the benefit of doubt and he has proved me very wrong. It’s was always upto to KG himself to raise his profile-why blame others for his failure to do so?

    Anyway what’s your point? You want the king back like hawa? Frankly speaking who’s stopping you from having the king back? Go ahead -start a zooloos! Overthrow the Maoists and the SPA then.

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  11. Kirat,

    You seem to make a career of giving everyone the benefit of doubt and then being proved absolutely wrong. Maybe tomorrow you will be giving the Indians the benefit of doubt if they walk in huh?

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  12. Kirat.. unless u r shinning some gurkha’s boot, i wonder where u learned english from, well.. let me know get into that…
    just what exactly do u think of yourself.. i am just curious, u seem to spend good amount of time here, u call yrself business, capitalist, and u often refer others in chat by idiot, stupid like words, believe me i am not surprised if u call yr parents same words and your kids use same to you and your wife, well why shud i get personal, i won’t and why excatly u feel maoist shud be given chance havent they done enough damage already? or just out of curiosity, r u employeed by maoist for free blogs like this one? so let me tell u this, just because u post blogs while waiting for customers at your kirana pasal, u shouldn’t feel there aren’t nepalese with knowledge on subject matter like u seem to post without realizing how u r fooling yrself.
    hey, just a word of advice, be nice to all, and i wil end with a question, what do u feel of these word of yr blog, Kirat? u have proved being racist at all times, what do u think of limbuwan like things? people like u r the problem for a great nation like nepal, now hey hey dont get angry there, let me tell you this, u get what u pay for.. so i thought u have said enough and i heard enough now let me make u heard.. dont even bother to reply .. i wont have time to read yr crap again ever.. Kirat? yeah right..!! sounds like a joke..

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  13. Its getting stranger and stranger day-by-day.

    ‘The thinking people’ claim that monarchy is no longer relevant, let CA decide, blah, blah. The same people clear wolf and shout themselves dry that monarchy should be abolished. If it is no longer relevant, where is the need to get into discussion or argument over something that is practically dead?

    Secondly, the nation gave chance to the Maoists on a simple premise that a so-called evil (the King) should be removed by even more greater evil (the Maoists) and the greater evil (the Maoists) will embrace democratic norms. The result is right before us. Have not we paid enough price? Will the same sea of humanity come down to streets to remove the Maoists? Do the ‘thinking people’ (led by nagar samaj a*s*s*h*o*l*e*s) have balls to come to street and protest against the Maoists, take some coercive action? They simply do not have courage. All they can do is shout and shout and shout and shout.

    These bunch of ‘thinking people’ have screwed up the nation and still they have tall claims of ushering ‘peace’, ‘Constituent Assembly will decide all’. What a bunch of shit*heads.

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  14. Frankly I am yet to hear a good argument for bringing monarchy back. Its strange to see suddenly a wave of sentiments that have arisen for the monarchy. If I recall not long ago everyone seemed to bay for their blood but today I dont understand why we feel so weak that we feel we need them.

    Bhudai – I wish you had offered a more concrete reason but unfortunately I dont feel convinced. Point taken that its more complex than what it seems when I say that Maoists can be sidelined. Surely I didnt mean it’d be that easy, but yes, if the SPA is willing, that can happen and I suspect Girija is keeping the best for the last. If Maoists refuse to cede when CA wipes them out, I think Girija will have a reason good enough to go after them full fledged which I think he will.

    Again, fine you have given this reason that its more complex to sideline Maoists than it seems. But how would monarchy help? And again I repeat, monarchy may represent unity and identity to some but not the majority. Imagine a situation G ruling for another 20 yrs followed by Paras 30. Unfortunately the picture dont seem that great to me.

    And for those who keep making baseless accusations for giving a chance to Maoists, please think in terms of circumstances that prevailed then. When G took over, we were all happy coz we wanted to give him a chance. But he screwed up real bad and then we decided to give Maoists a chance. It was all due to circumstances, not coz of partiality toward any of them. So why the slander?

    In that sense, we all wish SPA too disappeared from the face of the earth but they are the closest to democracy we have. So choice is really a luxury for us that we cant afford.

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  15. And Bhudai –

    “It’s difficult to say for sure whether Nepal will be better or worse off with having the institution of Monarchy around. I am yet to read any argument which convinces me off the later.”

    I dont understand why you say this. I mean from experience isnt what G did and what Paras is capable of as a successor a reason good enough to make a fair judgement that Nepal would be worse off with them around?

    Besides history have shown monarchy has been the biggest impediment to our nascent democracy and that they have an uncanny ability to bounce back and usurp state power from seemingly impossible positions. Shouldnt we be learning from history? Sure there were a lot of corruption during the time of multi-party democracy too but atleast compared to other times in history, we were making the most progress. And times have changed now, people are more aware of their rights. I am more confident we can do better if we had a republican democracy again, minus the maoists and monarchy this time.

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  16. If history and experience gave a far convincing reason that G and Paras would have made things worse, then its quite strange that devastation the Maoists caused did not provide any reason to the ‘thinking people’ that pretense of bringing the Maoists into the ‘mainstream’ would destroy the entire nation.

    Its strange that the actions of the Maoists for last one and half decade was not strong enough for the ‘thinking people’ to understand that they will stop at nothing and hollow (but spineless) cries of democracy means nothing to them.

    Oh yes! we have made great progress in recent times. The list of progress is quite exhaustive – the Himalayan Times fiasco, Dabur Nepal fiasco, gun in the Parliament, threat of fight-to-finish in streets, Parliament and government, bloodbath in entire Terai, endless closures of national highways, skyrocketing prices…All signs of great progress. People are definitely are aware of their rights sans their responsibilities. If we keep on progressing like this, we will cease to be a country and be small principalities.

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  17. Shaman – why would you want to nit pick? Agree by history Maoists too caused a lot of devastation. But could you and I stop them? Besides lets face it, they did have a case then. Nepal needed change and out of desperation and lack of choice we all hoped they would deliver. So we didnt really have a choice but to throw up our hands and relent. But in case of monarchy we do. And history has never presented an opportunity better than this.

    And by ‘progress’ I was referring to that decade where there was relative peace and economy was growing and people were getting some taste of progress. That period was before all those examples you cite.

    I am amazed how our ‘thinking’ people cant see the argument in its entirety and have to be spelled out in detail. Lets debate to make real points rather than for the sake of it.

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  18. Yes patriot,

    We shoul learn from history and it teaches us “when the democratic leaders stop giving a sh*t about their people and get involved in blatant corruption and lack the competence of a 3 years old, the chances are they will be sidelined by another political force.” The solution my freind is not to get rid of the insitution of monarchy but to get rid of the incompetence and corrupt nature of the political leaders. If the Democratic leaders are just as corrupt and incompetent even after the removal of the king, the army will take over. Then you get rid of the army…..then may be India will take over. So, my friend the only option we have if for the SPA to improve their competence by senior leaders resigning to pave way for the younger incompetent ones. If GPK, MAKUNE and DEUBA could not do one single thing in the interest of this country for the past 15 years, it is unlikely that thy will now.

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  19. And patriot,

    ceremonial or constitutional monarchy does nt mean that the kings will be ruling over the country. Of course, not until the SPA screw us up again

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  20. Patriot,

    What economic growth are you talking about? Economic growth does not simply come by because of a democratic government set-up. It may have some indirect impact to some extent.

    Liberalization in Nepal had started long before a political change in 1990. The ground-work of the liberalization (in Nepal) was incidentally started and done quite extensively in the decade of 80s (especially after 1985) under repressive regime. What economic growth we saw in Nepal is the result of those policy changes in 1980s and not because the democracy brought in development.

    The taste of ‘progress’ was limited to selected urban areas – Kathmandu and other cities. The large rural area remained neglected as before. I am not sure whether manufacturing of soaps and soft drinks represents ‘industrial progress’. I am not sure whether large swarm of foreign cars in Kathmandu represent ‘economic progress’. The progress that you see is all superficial and larger population is completely disconnected with it.

    The progress will be there when agricultural output increases which employs nearly two-thirds of our population. The progress will be there when we cease to be dependent on India for basic food items. The progress will be there when ratio of agricultural imports to agricultural exports becomes less than 1.

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  21. If you have no sense of pride in the history and creation of Nepal then being republican is understandarble. If you feel that what Prithivi Narayan Shah did was plain wrong as the maoists try to pupport then being a republican makes sense – we should change the name of the country and allow for autonomy like the maoists initially proposed (i.e. allow people to decide whether to separate or not), but if like me you can see over the maoist hogwash propoganda and are happy with a unified Nepal thanks to Prithvi Narayan Shah’s campaigns and vision thereby respecting one’s history you would opt for a constitutional monarchy. Noone wants a dictatorship, but we can for the first time have a purely constitutional monarchy, with pride of history. Otherwise be warned we will forever be a divided nation, and no matter what people say the reality of separate states will inch closer as the years go by. Should we be thinking of taking Nepal towards a healthy democracy while respecting our founding fathers or should we work towards a republic and start all over with the inevitability of fresh new nations or a very very divided one. That is the relevance of monarchy whether you like it or not.

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  22. hawa,

    The picture without king G, yes, atleast that will make SPA and maoists directly responsible of whatever the consequences.They wouldnot have a scapegoat to blame on . Besides as we all realize SPA,Maoists and King all screwed the nation, we would be well off without all of them. So, when there is an opportunity to remove at least one of them why should we hesitate. Let the game be started from king G , then we have one less head to aim on. Three power centers are always dangerous and difficult to manage , it is proven theory. As we can see intl politics from the US to Nepal it is decisive when there is only two forces.

    And we cannot go back to history just because it was less messy or chaotic. King G is history for sure and he had not presented any concrete stance and plan to solve the problem in his hayday. You cannot get an excuse by saying he was brickwalled from the day one, a true statesman get through all the obstuctions.That is what politicians are all about, they need to start clearing the mess gradually. You cannot say I was cooperated , you make people cooperate you. If everything is ideal for you to work then even Deuba would have worked. King g failed due to his incompetency the same way he accused Deuba of (but i really think deuba is the dumbest if all). So ,I think those who cannot seize the opportunity given by the history should remain in the history!!

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  23. hope,

    I know exactly what you mean, but getting rid of a prostrate cancer (King G), while you have lung and blood cancer (SPA +M) is not the answer. Gyanendra is an individual, like GPK and Prachanda , they won’t live forever. But to demolish an institution which was single handedly responsible for creating this nation is like saying lets get rid of democracy because the SPA are a$$holes or let’s not believe in socialism because of the maoists.
    Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to rid the nation of an institution who are the very cause of this nation’s creation why don’t we look at it as the first opportunity where we can decide as to the type of monarchy we should have (purely constitutional) while respecting history.
    As for blame games, one hopes we can move past that, as blaming this one and that one will result in more chaos. I think the key is to work together and not talk of removing this one first and then the other. No one can squarely blame one party for the mess we are in, it is a combination of many things from within and outside this nation – political and non-political. It is time to unite and work together and stop talking of getting rid of a, then b, then c.

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  24. Shaman – I’m beginning to feel its a waste of time arguing with you. You dont quite answer my question. Why do you pick specific points and not face my argument in its entirity. Isnt that typical of how our politicians & beaureacrats operate? Fine most of your assumptions about the economy might be true. But the question remains how is monarchy relevant, how will it add value to the process in the current scenario.

    B – I am not very convinced with your views either. You state a utopian situation which doesnt happen overnight when time is of essence. Sure if it were possible I’d love a ceremonial king who is compassionate, honest young politicians with vision and a picture perfect state that is inclusive. Tell me do we wait for our leaders to come to their senses and make way for young ones when theres maoists and king waiting for any opportunity to make a killing. I’m talking abt a scenario where you have multiple obstacles and you watch your steps while keeping your eyes on all directions, at the same time maintain hand-eye coordination, all at the same time while anticipating what lies ahead and when there is no time to afford. Would you suggest a unilateral cleansing of politics as the only option in such a multi dimensional situation? Or would you take things one at a time following the least path of resistance while trying to balance your steps and keep focus of the future?

    Point is B – PN Shah did a great job in bringing Nepal together. But his dynasty’s relevance has lost its sheen in the current scenario. We need to get out of this comfort zone if we really want to progress. And I beg to differ that they actually inspire unity and respect anymore. There is a strong desire for leadership change and people will churn them out in the due course dont worry. But your proposal to “rid of the incompetence and corrupt nature of the political leaders” is shooting arrows in the dark. You dont specify how to do it, how long will it take while considering the multi dimensional problems that face us.

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  25. And please dont ask me to repeat how will removal of monarchy make things any better. I have done that like I dont know how many times.

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  26. Patriot,

    I have nowhere argued that monarchy should stay or go. That is entirely different issue. You were arguing with others and please don’t put those words on me. What I have simply said is that even when SPA and Maoists have come to power and its more than a year, there has been no perceptual difference, and tall claims of bringing the Maoists into ‘mainstream’ has failed horribly. As they stand now, things have gone worse from bad.

    Additionally, claims of ‘progress’ during democratic setup (during 1990 to 2001) looks hyped because the policy work was done earlier and that policy work borne fruits later. Even now, there is practically nothing being done except rhethoric. What are policy frameworks (in any area) the present coalition has brought forward? Just show me one.

    You look at how the press is being gagged by brutal force of a single party that is supposed to have embraced ‘democratic’ norms. You look at Dabur Nepal incident. Who is to lose? It is us, the Nepalese, who are employed either directly or indirectly. I don’t think removal or abolishing monarchy is going to solve these real issues that affect us in our daily lives. If you feel it does, best of luck to you. I have nothing further to say.

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  27. Shaman – I agree to every point you’ve said. Sure removal of monarchy is not going to resolve anything. From your first post it seemed you were making a vieled argument for monarchy but you’ve laid the case to rest.

    My argument against monarchy is simply their staying will not make anything better and instead in future it is likely to do more harm than good.

    Sure Maoists have failed, hell everything has failed in Nepal but are these argument really relevant now, atleast in ref to the topic of monarchy we were discussing? If we were to go down that path, we could start another thread and discuss how it has failed and why it failed and all that stuff which I think we all know and seen it everyday.

    Dont misunderstand me. I have never said removal of monarchy will solve any real issues. But its removal will surely remove any threat we could face from monarchy in the future. Thats all. I hope you understand the point I’m trying to make.

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  28. Patriot wake up,

    There are no more nice guys in this world. There are those who use other people and there are those who are used by others. If you are looking for compassionate king or prime ministers or ministers or even civil society asshole@, you better start looking in another planet. The whole concept, incase you are not aware, behind consititutional or ceremonial monarchy is that their compassion does not really matter as they are not directly involved in daily administration or politics of the nation. Of course, at least not as long as the politicians seriously fcuk up.

    The main issue here is competence and intentions. Look corruption is a global issue. Japan is one of the most corrupt nation in the world and yet their delivery can hardly be compared to many other nations. My point to you is that, competence and intention is the most important aspect of any system. SPAM do not have good intentions that i can guarantee you and with bad intentions and blatant incompetence democracy will not work in Nepal, at least not if you are living in Nepal. As far as democracy needing time is concerned, do you know where nepal is today? It is like palistine or Iraq or other failed terrorist state where civilians are killed everyday and a different party claims resposiblity for it too. Show me one thing that has not failed in Nepal and i will show you hope like you have never seen her before. But time, my friend, is something that is not at our disposal. I am sorry to inform your puny brain that if your beloved SPAM does not take control of this beautiful country, someone else will.

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  29. And of course how do we get the best leaders out of this rotten bunch?
    Well, i have one solution….Let the nation decide on who becomes our PM.
    And ofcourse, you put a limit to the number of times any assho@les can become a PM and there is the solution.
    That should also stop this circus of one idiot becoming the PM 5 times in a lifetime at various different eras.
    If you lose a premier election you can never be the PM again. That would force the parties to not be dependent
    on any one person and also force them to produce the best nominations for the PM ship all the time as the voting
    will be done by the people themselves.

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  30. B – you are beginning to make yourslf look more and more stupid by each post. Or more and more royalist I should say. Calling me puny brain doesnt add up to your argument nor does it address my original argument – how is monarchy relevant to Nepal? Give me a good answer to this first instead of dilly dallying on vague issues.

    If my reasoning sounds nothing more than my love for SPAM to you, I can clearly see the state of our nation’s intellengensia who cant tell his ass from his cheek.

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  31. Patriot if you can not find the answer in my above comments, you will never find one from me.

    “The whole concept, incase you are not aware, behind consititutional or ceremonial monarchy is that their compassion does not really matter as they are not directly involved in daily administration or politics of the nation. Of course, at least not as long as the politicians seriously fcuk up.”

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  32. If you supporting alliance of the SPA with the terrorist Maoist does not make you a maobadi or a criminal, me supporting the institution of Monarchy should not make me a royalist now, should it? This is why i called you a puny brain. The scope of your vision is to narrow.

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  33. hawa-what’s the sense in comparing Prithvi Narayan Shah to Gyanendra and Paras? It only makes the latter people look more idiotic and uneccessary. PN Shah was a great king in the historical context of his time but KG and CP are idiots during their times . How you royalists go on about the love for the country and then loot everything this country has ever had!

    B-for the sake of clarification, you supporting the idea of an active monarch(c’mon we know you do) does make you a royalist. Please check up the meaning of the word ‘royalist’.

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  34. hawa,

    I am not just asking king g to go but the monarchy as a whole must go. No one should continue to power because his ancestors had done sth for the nation. Then doctors sons must be doctors as well and so does the other profession.

    Monarchy must go through a test and must be taken true professional manner.I am sure they havenot prove their mettle for generations. They failed to uplift the spirit of people. The rampant proverty,discrimination, corruption,disproportionate distribution of wealth(which gave rise to the Maoists insurgency),nepotism you name it they have done it.

    Monarchy must be like a system,if people dislike they must have that right . You cannot go on and on because they did sth good in past. And monarchy has not added any value in our society except some irrational burden. Besides ,it is wrong to think of monarchy again just because the current leadership is failing,we must go for new options,fresh ideas. You must accept the current situation of a nation has something to do with maonarchy itself. You can blame SPA,Maoists but monarchy cannot escape the burden as well.

    As you said, cancer must be operated no matter whether it is prostate or lungs !!

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  35. Kirat,

    No one, in his or her right mind, would or even could imagine an active monarchy in this day and age. I support the institution of Monarchy but i am not a royalist. I always believe that the nation should come first not any parties, institutions or individuals. A bright guy/girl like you should know this and i believe you feel the same way. I am a blatant non believer in SPA, to the extent that i would rather support maoists than any of the SPA goons. SPA is a mixture of both evil and ignorance. A fatal mix i believe.

    King G took over because the SPA screwed up. If you research a bit you may also find that the SPA themselves at one point encouraged G to take over. Their only regret was G did not bring them in power. To be honest, i kind of like this threat to remain. The SPA should have it in the back of their mind that if they are not perpetually vigilant, competent and people oriented someone else might butt in and take their lolly pop away.

    As far as relevance of IM (institution of Monarchy) is concerned, i believe that as long as it exists, Nepal will never be a communist country. Unless of course, we have a communist state of Kingdom of Nepal but i guess even you can see the contradiction that lies within this concept. Without the king, if the SPA screws up again, it will be the army that will take over. I believe that an army take over would be even more dangerous, which i think you will agree. I believe that it is easier to pressure king into submission than the army or even GPK. Patriot is just too dogmatic to reason with. But how do you see Nepal’s way forward now? India and America are fighting over their influence in Nepal and the idiots leaders do not even get that and if they do they could not care less. I ambassador says election should be held at any cost (financial or human) regardless of security realities. Where as Deuba, after meeting with US ambassador, claims that election may not be possilbe. this is the ground reality at the moment kirat. The CA election itself depends on the interest of international community and do you think all of them favor the election at the moment?

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  36. B: I would have no issue with the concept of constitutional/ceremonial monarchy only if it could be guaranteed. That’s the problem. The risk of KG and Sons meddling is too high to be acceptable.

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  37. Kirat im sure you will sell your mother for a price. capitalist pig.
    there is more to life then money, and im sure you have had a very soft landing.

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  38. S 1:17 Very mature pal!

    Some call me a Maoist some call me a capitalist pig…price of speaking my unprejudiced mind I guess!

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  39. kirat
    srry mate,
    see everyone is picking a fight with you not because you are expresing your opinion but because you are out correcting others. you and your opinions are no better than mine or anybody elses. so dont pretend to be superior.

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  40. “B: I would have no issue with the concept of constitutional/ceremonial monarchy only if it could be guaranteed.”

    Nothing is ever gurenteed. There is no guarantee that getting rid of the Monarchy will improve Nepal either – it might makes everything worse. Who knows. The monarchy was only able to meddle because we allowed them to meddle in the first place – our political leadership was very weak and the power structure was in the King’s favor (eg. the army was under the King’s control).

    Look in conclusion no one has been really able to give a good reason FOR or AGAINST the monarchy to exist. This issue must be decided through the CA elections because that will best reflect what the people want. All I am concerned about is that it must be decided systematically. It can’t happen just because Prachanda and Gagan Thapa want it bad.

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  41. Gagan Thapa … ever-student leader! He never quits becoming a student leader even when he’s nearing late 30s. Looks like he’s never going to get out of the University. He is supposed to be the role model of the nation’s youth and the national media had made him the voice of the youth about 8/9 months. What role models and leaders we have!!!

    Its truly amazing.

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  42. Bhudai-since no one can guarantee that the monarchs won’t meddle what’s the use of keeping them? As ceremonial/constitutional figures they are powerless anyway so why take such a huge risk when there is so little profit? Makes sense? Also it’s obvious that the monarchy in Nepal right now is more divisive than unifying.

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  43. Tribal, you are absolutely correct. Gagan thapa must have failed a lot of courses to still be a student and remain in university. It is very sad how educational institutions are being utilized and students are being utilized into this political fiasco. A few days ago a blog was on about Nepalese in the Arab being treated badly, ever wondered why did nepalese end up there ? What do u do when u have no or little education ? What do u do when u graduate in English from a university in nepal and cannnot grasp the difference between future tense and past tense. Part of the reason that Nepal will never get out of this state is because we do not have the educated public. The reason we do no have educated public is becasue the political system has overwhelmed it and manipulated the students making them unaware of their ultimate goals.
    Our literacy rate is terrible, our economy is terrible, our infrastructure is terrible and there is no concern about any of this, NONE whatsoever and what we are concerned about it is that the monarchy needs to go. ever thought of what will replace it? How many oxford/harvard/yale/ or other well known international university grads do we have here in Nepal who will replace the monarchy ? Are we going to be ruled by thugs and gangsters, or by these politicians like deuba, koirala, nepal who are looking out for themselves.
    All we think about is getting rid of people, where do we have the Nepalese to replace them? Are we creating such nepalese with our education system? Are we going to be “bahadurs” and security guards for the rest of our lives?
    We blamed the Rana rule becasue it kept us in the darkness away from all sorts of freedom, now a 6 yr old child faces the same thing, no difference, he cannot attend the school he wants to, neither can he afford to go to india to get a better education, he too will carry a political flag one day and lick chappals of the politicians to get into one of the ministerial potfolios. His secon option maybe to find a job in the middle east.

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  44. B – thanks you’ve finally offered a reason why inst monarchy should exist and that is monarchy will help check agianst Nepal becoming a total communist nation. Is that it? Well, point taken, a very good point indeed. But wouldnt we wish it were that simple? Coz my doubt is how do you expect monarchy and maoist to coexist? Rem maoists are already weakened and republicanism is the only card they have left, no wonder they keep insisting on it. Hence they will never relent and we will have continual deadlock. And if we usher in inst monarchy and cold shoulder the maoists, we have another long war.

    Bhudai – whats the point of saying lets leave the issue of monarchy to vote. If that was the ultimate thing, then we leave everything to vote. No need for people to come here and put down their views. And with respect to people of Nepal, lets face it, majority are easily swayed by propaganda and often tempted to short gains than long term. Its educated people like us who need to lead the way. Just bcoz maoists want it, doesnt make me or anyone a maoist if we think its the right thing. Frankly I think even NC wants it but they’re too scared maoists will take the credit for republicanism.

    B – you’ve concluded I’m dogmatic but you know what the problem with our educated elite is? its indecisiveness. They want to move forward but cannot leave behind the baggage. They cry hoarse about need for change in leadership, in constitution, in bureacracy, hell everything, but they’re not willing to accomodate younger gen and their views when it comes to their own bastion. If somebody rebels then its dogmatic. Instead I think its really what perhaps our erudite elite reflects that is indeed wrong in our country. If you want change B – then start by receding your own ground.

    Face it – you cant stop us from playing a role in this country’s future. We’re on the same side so you’d rather support us and appreciate what we feel is right for the country. Coz the last time I checked, our older elite didnt really do much out there. We need some young and bold people who can speak their mind and stay detached from the baggage of history. Somebody who has the appetite for risk and experimentation.

    Was it Victor Hugo who said you cant stop an idea whose time has come?

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  45. Kirat,

    You got it – there is no sense in comparing someone like Prithvi Narayan Shah to Gyanendra. Following from that getting rid of the institution because of Gyanendra also does not make sense.

    Hope,

    A doctor’s son should be a doctor? And a murderers a murderer? This is nothing to do with the shaping of a nation and history of a nation. It’s childish – then maybe there should be no nations and boundaries and we should all be one earth – come on now buddy you’re taking things way off context.

    Who has ever succeeded in fulfilling Nepal’s needs in modern times? Who? So the solution you propose is get rid of monarchy and pronto we will be prosperous?
    No one is advocating for an active monarcy just a constitutional one out of respect for history and our founding fathers. Something that should be respected if we have any forsight and pride of being, and not base decisions on anger over an individual or a situtation created by many factors. This is a decision we are taking which is historic just as the creation of this great independent nation (until now) was historic. We should be grateful and respect these moments as we decide not only for ourselves but for our future generations. I’m talking about an absolutely powerless monarchy, as opposed to a republic where there will be more disrespect for the institution and therefore our founding fathers and when your grandson asks you who found Nepal let us say Prithvi Narayan Shah with pride and not have to say it in whispers like it is something to be ashamed of just because republicans see it as such, republicans who have no respect for the building of an independent nation.

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  46. P.S Hope,

    Unlike what you say I think operating the cancers could very well kill the patient, so maybe it is better to give it radiation or chemo therapy, to heal as in reform not drastic revolt.

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  47. hawa,

    Exactly, no institution should continue just because his previous breed were better than present. If not then , GPK had some contribution to this country as well, as per your theory, his clan has some right to become PM no matter what, right?? Then Prakash Koirala’s induction in the Royal cabinet was justified by your principle right?

    I wonder when no body in other posts qualify just because his/her fore fathers had some contribution to the country why kings must have that right?? As far as respect is concern ,enough respect has been shown to them and those who donot learn to respect others ultimately loses form them. If the instution is immensely popular or they become national identity like Britain, Japan or as modest as Sweden,Norway, Spain people might think otherwise.

    I have never said getting rid of monarchy will make nepal prosperous in a day but definitely will start that proces atleast. The royal nepotism which made almost all major industries,five star hotels,trading houses of their property will end. Probably then the stage would be set to some fair business competition.

    And, as far as powerless monarchy is concern, how you guarantee that?? What does a constitutional monarchy means in the context of Nepal?? We supposed to have one ,don’t we?? Will there be any law if king acts as dictator again he can be punished?? By whom?? Can you make any clause which bars him from grabbing power?? NO WAY buddy!! Monarchy as an institution runs absolutely by individual brilliance,depends solely on the person who reigns. It is an individual who makes monarchy and when he thinks otherwise,that is the case most often in Nepal,no body could check and balance.

    I always supported the theory that it takes time to mature any institutions. Democracy is one of them and I feel the time given to get mature for democracy was too short. We should have given more time and space for democracy to prosper and develop. But it was Monarchy which time and again thwarted that opportunity which was given 238 years to mature as an institution. If 238 years for monarchy is not long enough to make itself well placed and popular then it deserves not less treatment than the exit !!

    History will not change so does the contribution of prithvi narayan, he will be taken as founding father as long as Nepal remains as a country. I wonder why would you be ashamed to talk about him just because there is no longer his clan running the country. It is ridiculous to keep on revering his grandsons just not to forget him. His image will be even more tarnished if the institution would go further, Paras, couldn’t even think of him. Hence , we must accept the fact that the Shah dyanasty will soon be in history books and we must take that as natural process. We cannot go back to the lesser chaos, going back is definitely not a solution.

    Having said all these ,I do agree that republicans we have, are trying to distort our history and you know it how stupid they are!!

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