Two major communist parties of Nepal make their Constituent Assembly elections manifestos public this week. Read on before deciding to vote for anyone of them:
[Next blog: Wagle has been following the campaign trail of Maoist Chairman Prachanda for the past few days. How do people who were seen in Prachanda campaign rallies think about the man who led the violent revolution? Are they going to vote for him in Kathmandu-10? Plus, interview with the leader and his campaign verbatim.]
UML, In CA Manifesto, Proposes Executive PM, Ceremonial President
A major ally of the ruling Seven-Party alliance (SPA), CPN-UML on Sunday made public its election manifesto for the Constituent Assembly (CA) proposing to bestow the executive powers of the state upon the Prime Minister and to give just a ceremonial role to the President who will also be the head of the state. UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal publicised the manifesto with the slogan ‘Let’s establish a federal democratic republic, let’s build a strong and prosperous Nepal”, at a press conference organised at the UML headquarters at Balkhu in the capital today.
The manifesto has proposed to elect the Prime Minster under first-past-the-post (FPTP) election system and the President through a clear majority of the elected parliament. The UML manifesto has also proposed to bestow all responsibilities of the country’s administration upon the Prime Minister. The party, however, has proposed to entitle only limited rights and responsibilities to the President in his capacity as the ceremonial Head of State. Likewise, the manifesto has also provisions for a bicameral legislative body at the centre, unicameral assembly at each state under the new federal governance system. UML General Secretary Nepal said, “The elected representatives shall run the local bodies.” “We have forwarded the principle of developing the federal structure on the basis of ethnic, linguistic, cultural and geographical distinctiveness,” he added.
The UML manifesto, however, does not mention the number of states to be formed under the federal system. The party has said that the number of states will be determined later by the state restructuring a commission comprising experts. According to the manifesto, the first CA meeting will form a commission with the consensus of the political parties to draft a new constitution and to restructure the country in a progressive manner. Regarding UML’s economic plan, the UML General Secretary said, “We have proposed for the development of the public, private and cooperative sectors as the pillars of our economy.”
Maoist Commitment Paper (aka Manifesto): 11 Autonomous Federal States, Per Capita Income US$ 3,000 in 10 Years!
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has unveiled their election manifesto proposing to restructure the unitary its into 11 autonomous federal states and pledging to increase the per capita income of Nepalis to US$ 3000 in the next 10 years. Releasing the manifesto, entitled “Commitment Paper-New thought and new leadership for new Nepal,” in the capital on Friday (7 March), Maoist Chairman Prachanda said, “We have documented the commitment of our decade-long people’s war in this paper.”
The Maoists’ commitment paper states that Nepal will become a pro-people federal democratic republic. The Maoists have expressed commitment to people’s sovereignty, freedom of the press, human rights and democratic competition, in the paper.
It has restructured the country into 11 autonomous states and three sub-states, all based on ethnicity and geography.
Seti-Mahakali and Bheri-Karnali autonomous states are based on geography while Magrant, Tharuwan, Tamuwan, Newaa, Tamsaling, Kirant, Limbuwan, Kochila and Madhes are based on ethnicity. The sub-states within the Madhes state–Mithila, Bhojpura and Abadh–are based on language.
The Maoists have conceptualized a three-tier mechanism for the judiciary and the administration in the country.
The Maoists have also reiterated that every autonomous state will have the right to self-determination.
“The right to self determination will not lead the nation towards fragmentation rather it will keep the nation united by guaranteeing the rights of all castes and regions,” the paper states.
The center, the paper sates, will have control over army management, border security, foreign relations, inter-state trade, monetary policy, big hydropower, railways and others.
The Maoists have proposed that the representatives to the CA will elect an acting president for the period until the elections for parliament take place.
On the issue of economic policy, the Maoists have proposed ‘New Transitional Economic Policy’. The Maoists’ economic policy stresses he tillers’ right to land and has focused on socialist economy.
“The New Transitional Economic Policy will reach the country at the position of highly developed state in next 40 years,” the paper says. Dr Baburam Bhattarai, on the occasion said, “We will increase the current 270 dollar per capita income of Nepalis to 3,000 dollars in next 10 years.”
The Maoists have proposed the formation of national army by integrating both Nepal Army and their People’s Liberal Army. “A national army will be formed by democratizing Nepali Army and professionalizing People’s Liberation Army,” the paper states.
While stressing that more employment opportunities will be generated within the country, the Maoists’ commitment paper states that the Gurkha recruitment service will be banned.
The Maoists have also proposed that all unequal treaties including the 1950 treaty with India will be revoked.
Republican Nepal will be a secular state with self-sufficient economy while the country’s relation with India and China will be based on panchasheel, the manifesto says.
The Maoist manifesto says 10,000 megawatt hydroelectricity will be generated in the next 10 years, and drinking water will be made available to the entire population in within five years period.
Likewise, the party has set another major target: ending illiteracy in just five years. The manifesto also suggests that basic health care will be available to everybody if the party makes it to the power.