The first-ever Constituent Assembly (CA) Polls in Nepal is being held on April 10, 2008. About 100 thousand international and domestic observers have enlisted for observation of the polls. The EU and Carter Center including many other international bodies have established their contact offices at Kathmandu to observe the election. People and organizations interested in Nepal are keen to know what agendas do the key political parties have for the people and the nation. Here is a comparative analysis of the election manifestos of three key political parties prepared by Conflict Study Center.
Nationality territorial integrity
End to all semi-colonial and unequal relations and protect completely. Nepal’s sovereignty, national independence, freedom and territorial integrity.
CPN United Marxist-Leninist (UML):
Nepal’s national unity, integrity, sovereignty, and freedom to be consolidated.
Nepali Congress (NC):
Sovereignty and state power shall rest on the people. Harmony shall be among people of different castes/ethnicity and national integrity and sovereign constitution.
Head of the State/ Government (Executive)
1. President shall be elected through direct election and the legislature members shall elect the Premier.
2. The President shall perform the role of head of the state, chief of army and executive chief, whereas the PM shall deal with daily administrative affairs.
3. Both can remain in office for two terms of full tenure only.
4. There shall be governors and Chief Ministers in the States
1. Prime Minister shall be elected through direct election and all MPs of Central and Federal legislature shall elect the President.
2. Both presidential and premiership shall not continue for more than two full terms.
1. President shall be elected through Central and Provincial parliament. The executive and government head shall be the prime minister.
2. The Provincial Head shall lead the Federal State.
3. The Cabinets at the Central and Provincial levels shall be inclusive.
Federal State System or Federal Democratic Republic (FDR)
1. Nepal consists of multi-nationality, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-religious and geographical diversities. Federal restructuration of state shall be borne with autonomous inclusive self-determination of nationalities and regions.
2. The first meeting of CA shall implement the FDR.
3. Executive President shall be elected by CA members.
4. CA shall form Interim Government.
5. Transformation of the State to Federal Structure through national and regional Autonomy with right to Self-determination.
6. Relief to the poverty line, unemployed, squatters, disabled, senior citizens, conflict-affected, martyr-families, and families of the disappeared.
7. Reintegration of PLA and Nepali Army to form a New National Army.
8. Establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and action shall be taken against the perpetrators.
9. Scientific and practical Bases of Federalisms shall be ethnic/caste and regional identity: common language, common geography, common economy, and common psychology.
10. Sovereignty and State power shall rest on the people in its entirety, which shall be represented through their elected representatives.
11. Democratic transformation of the majority of working people, poor classes, oppressed classes, regions, women and dalit by ending the current trend of keeping democracy as a mere formality.
1. The federal structure shall be developed based on ethnic, linguistic, cultural and topographical specialties.
2. The federal states shall be named to display the ethnic, linguistic, cultural and historical identity, a high level constitutional commission shall be formed to decide on it.
3. Each federated state shall follow multiparty democratic system.
4. Guarantee of political rights to nationalities, to their economic, social and cultural development, including ILO convention 169 relating to self-determination.
5. A High Level Constitutional Commission shall be formed to decide the structures of FDR.
1. Nepal shall be a full democratic, federal republic based on Plurality.
2. The ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and regional diversities are the basis of federalism.
3. It shall be formed by transforming the unitary central system into integrated and indivisible FDR.
4. The specialties and characters of populations in Tarai, Hills and Mountains on Madhesi, nationalities, dalit and other groups shall be taken into account in the FDR.
5. The FDR shall be divided into three layers: Central, Provincial and Local, their rights, duties and responsibilities shall be guaranteed in the new Constitution.
Structure of Federal Mechanism
1. Regional: Seti-Mahakali and Bheri-Karnali States; Ethnicity: Magarat, Tharuwan, Tamuwan, Tamang-Saling, Kirant, Limbuwan, Kochila, Newa and Madhes; Linguistic: Mithila, Bhojpura and Abadh sub-State
2. The State borders shall be demarcated though mutual consensus considering ethnic composition, linguistic frame, economic possibilities, geographical accessibility, etc.
3. Local Autonomous areas shall be created if dense population of other ethnicity/caste reside in an Autonomy. The nationalities registered presently in Mountain region – Byansi, Mountain– lama, Bhote, Sherpa, Thakali, etc., Hill – Baramu, Bhujel, Chepang, Chantel, Dura, Haiyu, Hulmo, Jirel, Lepcha, Sunar, Thanmi , etc. Inner-Madhes– Majhi, Bote, Danuwar, Dusahi, Kumal etc. and Tarai– Dhimal, Jhangar, Kisan, Meche, Munda, Santhal, Koch-Rajbasnhi, etc. shall have Local Autonomies.
1. Madhesi, nationalities, Muslim and minorities living in Tarai shall have rights to protect their language and culture including just distribution and of resources and autonomy.
2. Equal right to development for the people living in remote places.
3. Political participation and special privileges to people in Karnali and other remote places.
The bases of federal structure shall be territorial integrity, geographical landscape, accessibility, population, natural resources and economic feasibility, inter-relationship of provinces, density of linguistic, ethnic and cultural aspects, politico-administrative viability.
Fundamental human rights
1. It shall guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to establish associations and/or political parties, freedom to choose profession/trade, freedom to mobility, etc.
2. Assurance of fundamental rights to all citizens to education, health, employment, housing and food-sovereignty.
3. Right to housing.
4. Land to the tillers.
5. Labor and proletariat shall have rights to submit demands, bargaining and strike.
6. Women shall have equal rights with men in all areas including inheritance rights.
7. All children shall be entitled to nutrition, education, health and social security.
8. Youth shall be entitled to physical, mental and entire personality development through state.
9. All disables shall be entitled to identity, respect, representation and protection rights.
10. The state shall offer care and protection to the senior citizens and destitute.
11. The marginalized and disappearing ethnicities and groups shall have rights to protect their language, culture and traditions.
12. Dalits shall have the rights against untouchability and social discrimination.
13. Rights to participation, self-determination, life and self-defense, respect of human being, family, social security, entertainment and rest, local self-governance, revoke representation, access to justice, imprisoned and detainee, proportional representation, third sex, etc.
1. It shall guarantee freedom to form political party/ association, freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom to movement and mobility, freedom to choose profession, employment, industry, business, freedom of press, etc.
2. It shall ensure right to information, right to confidentiality of property, documents, facts, communication and character and right to life of all citizens.
3. Education, health, employment and food and sanitation shall include in fundamental rights.
4. Right to equality; end to discrimination based on religion, class, caste, sex, origin, language, region, faith; legal redress and compensation to discrimination-affected
5. Social security and welfare: allowances to unemployed, senior citizens, disables, destitutes and orphans.
6. Special privileges to conflict victims, displaced, torture victims, vulnerable, including destitute and orphans.
7. Freedom from exploitation.
8. Eradication of untouchability.
9. Progressive reservation to socially and economically discriminated, oppressed and victims of untouchability including dalits.
10. End to exploitation of labor; forced labor, child labor; right to collective bargain and appropriate labor management.
1. It shall guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom to form political party and associations, freedom to movement and mobility and freedom to choose profession, employment, industry and business.
2. The state’s fundamental aim shall be to wage a war against hunger and malnourishment
3. The state’s fundamental aim is to realize employment to all citizens
4. Poverty alleviation campaign shall be launched.
5. It shall be the duty of the state to basic labor rights, dignified employment, and protect the rights and record the unorganized informal sector labor; strong support to the ILO Core Labor Standards.
6. Rehabilitation, compensation and social security to citizens affected by violent conflict.
There shall exist two armed forces in Nepal. Professionalization of the PLA and democratization of Nepal Army shall be carried out.
1 A High Level Security Commission shall be formed to restructure the security based on new democratic republic.
2. The Army shall be brought out from the barracks to involve in creative development and construction works.
3. The army shall be socialized and made pro-people.
4. The national army shall be made inclusive.
5. The Central shall manage and control the national army, whereas the autonomous states shall build para-military forces and militia.
6. There shall be specialized security forces for border, industry, forest, highway, rural areas, etc.
7. Special plan shall be developed to utilize the experience of the ex-army men from Nepal and Gurkhas from Indian and British Armies.
8. The border disputes and infringes in Susta, Kalapani and other places shall be settled as soon as possible based on facts.
1. National security policy developed to security of national border, protection to geographical integrity and natural resources, social harmony and protection of life of people.
2. Nepal army shall be under the parliament.
3. The executive shall control, manage and conduct the army.
4. Nepal army shall be democratized and professionalized along with made inclusive.
5. Integration and management of Maoist combatants shall be carried out in consensus.
1. Border security and internal peace and security shall be the central agenda of security concern.
2. Security policy developed for national security that shall imply security not only to the army but also to the citizens.
3. Nepali army shall be transformed to democratic, inclusive and professional.
4. Nepali army shall be under the parliament, whereas the management and control shall be done by the executive.
5. The Armed Police, Nepal police and National Investigation Department shall be transformed as per the federal structure.
1. There shall be Supreme Court at the central level and the Federal States shall have High and District Courts.
2. There shall be people’s courts and reconciliation centers under the District Courts.
3. The Supreme Court: serious legal matters, constitutional issues, inter-state agendas, distribution and utilization of national resources, etc. shall take care of.
4. High Court shall have extraordinary authority
5. The current legal system adopting Thula lai chain ra sana lai ain (Haves in bliss and have-nots in distress) shall be transformed.
1. Independent judiciary: central, province and local courts; parliamentary hearing on appointment of Judges.
2. Hearing right of the victims of criminal offences at independent court.
1. Independent, accountable, competent and impartial judiciary shall be established. Supreme court at the Center and the center and provinces shall have appellate courts as per need.
2. Constitutional or public hearing for appointing judges.
3. There shall be provision of impeachment for judges in the Constitution.
The Central level shall consist of bi-cameral and the States shall have uni-cameral legislature. The number of membership shall be kept as small as possible. The lower house shall comprise of the representatives based on population, whereas the upper house shall consist of equal representatives of the States.
Central level shall consist of bi-cameral and the States shall have uni-cameral legislature. There shall be local elected representatives at the Village and Municipality levels. The Upper House shall consist of elected representatives from federal states, whereas Lower House through mixed election system.
Central level shall consist of bi-cameral and the States shall have uni-cameral legislature.
The upper house shall have equal representation of all states, and the lower house and provincial shall be through mixed election system, with proportional representation of the population.
There shall be local autonomies within provinces.
1. There shall be three public services: Central, State and Local.
2. Administration Restructuration Commission shall make the current civil service, police and armed services and other public services accountable to the people, honest, competent, impartial, transparent based on Federal structure.
3. The incentives for the public servants shall be determined to meet enough to livelihood.
4. Transformation of the administration shall be carried out to make it result-oriented (rather than process), accountable to the people, capacitate and transparent.
1. Restructuration of the civil and police and other public services in federal structure.
2. Professional capacity building and promotion of civil service based on federal system.
Center and provinces shall have separate civil administration and public service commission shall also have similar structure.
The Constitutional bodies as Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Election Commission, Public Service Commission, Auditor General, NHRC, etc. shall be made independent, empowered and effective.
Based on separation of power Public Service Commission, Auditor General, CIAA, Election Commission and NHRC shall be made effective
Election Commission, Human Rights Commission, Public Service Commission, Auditor General and CIAA shall be independent.
Rights of Central, State and Local
1. The Central shall take care of border security, army management, Foreign relation, inter-state trade, monetary policy, central bank, customs, revenue, mega hydro-power projects, railway, airways, national highways, central University, measurement, etc.
2. The state shall be endowed to Autonomous states.
3. The local shall deal with transport, local tax, education, health, sanitation, local resources, etc. Special provision shall be made to balanced and harmonious relationship between the Center and the States. The Center shall seek consensus of the States in relation to laws affecting them and vice versa.
1. Central shall take national security, foreign relations, monetary policy and central bank, railways, airways, highways, central university, protection of human rights and fundamental rights, customs, revenue, large hydro power, etc.
2. The pradesh (state) shall deal to provincial court, provincial service commission, security, industry, trade, education, health, roads, etc.
3. Local shall responsible to local roads, transportation, gas, electricity, sanitation, local tax, public education, health management, etc.
1. The Central level shall deal with foreign relation, monetary policy, national security, airways, highways, large hydro-power, etc of national importance.
2. The provincial level and local level shall take care of political, economic, cultural and linguistic rights, agriculture, forest, education, employment, etc. But, if the issues pertaining to national character shall be based in the central level.
1. Revolutionary Land Reform shall be carried out based on land to the tillers.
2. Concession to Foreign Direct Investment shall be given as per national plan and national interest.
3. Promotion of public private partnership system.
4. Cooperative movement shall be given priority and promoted in all areas with reforms.
5. Private sector shall be promoted, except the special areas that the State is accountable.
6. The key character of the economic policy is to develop socialism-oriented national industrial capitalism.
8. New Transitional Economic Policy shall be implemented.
9. Self-reliance national economy shall be developed gradually: Moderate level development within 10 years; High level development within 20 years; and Highest level development within 40 years based on New Transitional Economic Policy.
10. Development of socialism-oriented national industrial capitalism.
11. End to the existing feudalism, bureaucratic and comprador bourgeoisie and national policy towards rapid economic growth for social justice, regional balance, and self-reliance shall be established.
1. There shall be mixed economy consisting public, cooperative and private sectors.
2. Politico-economic orientation to end to feudalism.
3. Scientific and revolutionary land reform
4. High priority to modernization and commercialization of agriculture.
5. Development of public, private and cooperative as foundation of economy.
6. A financial commission to distribute revenue between Central, Provincial and Local Levels shall be formed.
7. Concrete measures as a campaign shall be initiated to alleviate poverty.
8. Priority to agriculture, water resources and tourism at national level.
9. Long term, middle term and short term policies shall be developed to protect and attract foreign investment.
1. Customs, VAT, tax, income tax, etc. shall be collected by Central Revenue Department and allocated to the three levels in a classified and justifiable way. The tax for land, house, property, vehicle, registration fee, etc. shall be with the province and local levels.
2. A financial commission shall be formed to distribute revenue and foreign grants.
3. The provincial government shall have the authority to mobilize loans for infrastructure development.
4. Utilization of WTO’s special privileges for developing countries.
State directives and policies
Institutionalization and implementation of Independent and people-oriented FDR.
National referendum shall be carried out for protracted issues affecting the country.
Referendum shall be carried out on issues pertaining to national interests.
Balanced and strong relationship based on Panchaseel principle.
Based on UN Charter, Panchaseel and Sovereign State.
UN Charter, Panchaseel and non-aligned, etc. shall be the based on mutual respect, good wishes and equality to international relations.
The FDR shall be implemented according to the Interim Constitution’s third amendment.
An effective mechanism developed against corruption, rule of law and transparency for good governance.
1. Positive discrimination with social justice shall be adopted to access and participate state mechanism and decision making process.
2. End to immunity and full realization of rule of law, civil rights, security, fundamental rights and justice.
3. Control Corruption shall be to control abuse of authority and power, control corruption and accountable governance.
All Nepalis shall be entitled to receive citizenship without any discrimination. Fake citizenship shall be investigated and cancelled.
Citizenship provided easily to all.
Nepal being a multi-lingual country, all languages shall be established as national languages. The federal structures shall have the right to decide on the official language and contact language.
1. All mother tongues shall be established as national languages.
2. Right to protection and development of the ethnicity, language and culture of the endangered and marginalized groups.
State organs and public offices shall have appropriate representation of women, dalit, oppressed castes/ethnicities, oppressed/remote areas, Madhes, minorities, Muslim, etc. The special privileges shall be offered to women, dalit and Muslim as compensation.
Inclusive participation of indigenous, ethnic groups, madhesi, women, dalit, landless, kamaiya, badi, children, backward area, etc.
Inclusive participation of indigenous, ethnic groups, madhesi, women, dalit, landless, kamaiya, badi, children, backward area with social security
Women and Children
1. Guarantee of inheritance rights to women including special privilege in society, economy and all the agencies of State as well as equal participation.
2. Provision to include women along with men in the land deeds and citizenship.
3. Women, Family and Juvenile Courts shall be established.
4. Women entitled to reproductive health rights.
1. 33% participation in national life for women ensured.
2. Daughters shall be entitled to inheritance tights equal to sons.
3. Women entitled to reproductive health rights and divorce.
4. Special preference to women for education, health and employment.
5. Protection and rearing of children responsibility of the family, community and state.
6. Children shall be declared zone of peace.
1. 33% participation in national life for women ensured.
2. End all types of violence and discrimination.
3. Women entitled to reproductive health rights.
4. Nutritional food, education, basic services and social security of children guarantee.
1. A High Level Youth Commission shall be established to plan and solve problems of youths.
2. Adult franchise from 16 years of age.
Youths shall entitle to education, health and employment.
1. Partnership with youths for eradication to knowledge and technology.
2. Programs and policies developed to access to sports, arts and entertainment.
Martyrs, disappeared and injured families
1. A special plan to memorial and respect to Martyrs and disappeared and wounded during 10-year’s People’s War and Popular Movement.
2. Relief granted to the bereaved/affected families; their children shall be offered free education till University level.
3. A High level Commission to be formed to find the whereabouts of the disappeared and the perpetrators punished as per the report of the commission.
4. The entire treatment costs of the wounded during the war borne by the State.
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Migration and Non-Resident Nepalis (NRN)
1. Dual citizenship to NRN’s shall be offered and they shall be motivated to invest their skills and capital in Nepal.
2. Management of employment to Nepali youths within the country and the rights and protection of the Nepali migrant workers shall be cared of.
The NRNs shall be provided special facilities. The data on migrant workers shall be recorded and efforts to protect their rights carried out.
Protection to the rights and security of migrant and NRNs.
1. End to commercialization of education and provision of free education till grade 12; education shall ensure a fundamental rights; loan sanction without collateral to students for higher educations.
2. Eradication of illiteracy within 5 years.
3. Emphasis to Technical and polytechnic education.
4. Open University shall be established for the youths involved in 10-years war to have an access education.
5. There shall be at least one University in each Autonomous State.
6. International outstanding education and research centers in Agriculture, Forestry, Engineering, IT, Management, etc. shall be established to attract foreign students.
7. Special initiatives to respect Martyrs shall be undertaken.
8. Special measures shall be adopted to promotion of sports from the schools and village levels.
1. Special tax and insurance shall be levied to avail education, health, housing, food sovereignty of the people.
2. Basic education shall be compulsory till grade 8; secondary education shall be free till grade 12.
1. Basic education shall be a fundamental right of all citizens.
2. The state shall upgrade the quality of education in public sector to lessen the gap between private and public schools.
3. Primary levels shall consist of schooling in mother tongue.
4. Compulsory education till grade 10.
5. Vocational education shall be guaranteed.
1. Proportional representation of the differently-abled.
2. Special Programs to protect and respect of the differently-abled.
1. Right of the disables to identity, representation and protection, including education, health, employment and social protection.
2. Free health services to disables.
Proportional representation of the differently-abled.
Muslim and minority
1. Special rights shall be offered to Muslims to proportionate representation in society, State and economy.
2. A National Muslim Commission to be formed for their overall development and interest.
Religious and cultural rights of minorities shall be promoted through special package of program.
Provision of adequate allowance to the elderly ones respecting their contributions to the society.
Free health services to elderly ones.
State obligation to care and social security to the elderly ones.
The Third Sex
Citizenship with identity.
Identification and insurance to the rights.
1. Implementation of Health for all as fundamental rights.
2. Free basic health services to all.
3. Special provisions to develop allopathic, homeopathic, aruvedic, unani and acupuncture/acupressure, natural healing and yoga therapies shall be made.
4. There shall be allopathic, aruvedic, natural healing centers at each VDC.
5. Private and community sectors shall be encouraged to establish well-equipped hospitals in the tourism sector.
6. Export of processed herbs instead of raw.
1. Free basic health services shall be availed.
2. There shall be subsidy to treatment of complexities of heart, kidney and cancer.
1. Network of public hospitals and quality improvement to easy access of people in the remote areas shall be state obligation.
2. Increase health expenditures in private, NGO and public sectors to avail all types of services within the country.
3. Special attention to control HIV/AIDS.
4. Control of Drug abuse and management of addicts shall be attended by the state
The degrading tradition of Gurkha Recruitment shall be ended and respectful and productive employment shall be arranged.
The experience of ex-army, police and civil servants shall be utilized in favor of society and nation.
Culture of Impunity
All the perpetrators against humanity shall be identified and punished through Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
End to impunity through making all crimes against humanity. The perpetrators who used excessive force during people’s movement shall be brought to the court.
Establishment of Truth and National Reconciliation Commission to end impunity and create harmony and unity
Insurance of active participation of concerned stakeholders and experts shall utilize.
The draft committee shall finalize and CA members pass it in people’s name by themselves for them.
It is evident that all the political parties have woven wordy nets to draw votes without analyzing the Nepal’s economy. Maoists have focused on revolutionary trends and realizations to fundamental rights with social security similar to Scandinavian livelihood model. NC also copies most of the significance words and presented that government of Nepal has obligation to fulfill all required demands of people for social security believing that the Nepal Government is similar to their own-party rather then party’s policies and programs. The CPN (UML) is between the two lines of thoughts (NC and Maoist), but they have confusion for the agendas of a new Nepal. Put forwarding the Prachanda as the first president of republican Nepal, the CPN (Maoist) is trying hard to convince the voters saying that they are the only competitor to fulfill the people dreams for a new Nepal.
There has been a understanding that both the NC and UML do not deserve the common public leader, they chose Prime Ministerial rule as a chief of executive similar to India. The republic and federal autonomous state with right to self-determination which have become the hopes and expectations of great majority Nepalis, are the prime agendas put forward by the Maoists. Except these-two, both the NC and UML had won the confident of the people in the previous regular parliamentary elections with attractive manifestos, but they themselves engaged into personal benefits and opportunities leaving behind the people’s zest and zeal after winning the elections.
All have dealt on the rights of the children, but street children (almost 100 thousand) have not mentioned. All manifestos have given a high priority to young people into their manifestos similar to Serbian political leaders. The voters ranges between the age of 18 to 35 comprises the more than slight half (51%) population in Nepal, but NC has just fielded 17 out of 240 fast-past-the-post (FPTP) candidates in CA polls, whereas, the Maoists forward 126 young candidates in the same seats. Even though, all key parties have high vocals of inclusive participations in all ranks and files.
The National Human Rights Commission of Nepal stated that the political parties have taken the CA polls similar to the parliamentary election and their Manifestos represent the same for the CA polls too. All have raised issues for peace and security, but each is criticizing the other for breaching the code of conduct. On the course of election campaign, the Maoists have already lost 8-cadres from the attack of UML, NC and unidentified groups, whereas the NC and UML including media are clamoring on the YCL’s attacks on their parties shadowing the extrajudicial killings. Prachanda has claimed that the big house media are running with support form foreign forces against them. The Maoists criticized that UNMIN prejudice with them even though; they demanded the UN before the peace-talks began. First time Prachanda said, “I met UNMIN chief Ian Martin this morning and told him his report is biased. The report mentions nothing about brutal killings of our cadres” (Himalayan Times: March 24, 2008).
NC and UML have raised the issues of impunity, but their many ill-famous leaders are struggling for capturing the votes. The civil servants assigned to polling booths have repeatedly stated of insecurity in many rural areas. In such circumstance, how the common people shall turn to cast their votes is a grave concern. People have been saying that the CA election seems no difference to the earlier parliamentary elections. The election is being held in such a critical and insecure situation, they doubt if there shall be free and fair election. People are in a dilemma whether to go to cast their votes or not.
Contributed by: Bishnu Pathak PhD and Chitra Niraula
Assisted by: Ganga Puri, Rushma Shakya, Rita Chaudhary, Man Pd. Neupane ‘Manish’ and Meena Siwakoti