After the Maoist Victory, Power Sharing a Tricky Issue

By Ameet Dhakal

As the largest party in the Constituent Assembly but without a majority, the CPN (Maoist) is certain to lead a coalition government. What is uncertain, however, is what sort of coalition it would be and how power will be shared among the major parties.

One thing is sure — negotiations on the formation of the coalition government are not going to be plain sailing.

The second and third largest parties in the CA — NC and UML — are almost evenly split on whether or not they should join a coalition led by the Maoists. Though the UML has decided to pull out of the present government, Jhala Nath Khanal, who may possibly become the next UML general secretary, said the party hasn’t decided to stay out of the new government.

The NC and the UML face three critical issues before they decide to join or stay out of the next government. a. What is the mandate of the CA poll? b. Whether staying out of the government would be seen by the public as not being sincere about the peace process and as an attempt to get the Maoist-led government into trouble from day one? c. Will abstention from the government pave the way for a Maoist dictatorship for years to come, if the reds are so inclined ?

Tackling these issues isn’t easy. Almost all NC and UML leaders agree that the mandate of the CA poll is against their participation in the new government. “The people’s mandate for us is to stay out of the government but the party will decide taking into account all the factors,” said Mahesh Acharya, central committee member of the NC. There is already growing pressure from the rank and file of these parties to withdraw from the government. Many party cadres, still licking their wounds, wish to see the Maoists running into trouble after forming a minority government.

But the parties are bound by the interim constitution and their own election manifestos to work together till a new constitution is drafted. A senior NC leader who is a minister in the current coalition government argued that their main responsibility is to draft a new constitution. “If the NC and UML stay out of the new government, inter-party animosity will grow, making it impossible to draft a new constitution and hold the next election on time,” he said.

Should that happen, argued this politician, “People will blame not just the Maoists but also us for failing to take the peace process to a logical conclusion.”

It is this fear of public sentiment going against them and a strong voice within the parties that giving the Maoists sole control of the government might lead to authoritarianism for years to come that may eventually trip the balance in favor of joining the new government.

In that case, the NC and UML leaders want constitutional and political checks and balance against an executive led by the Maoists. “If the Maoists want us to join the government, they should be ready to amend the constitution whereby a simple majority of the CA can remove the prime minister,” said Gagan Thapa, youth leader of the NC. Another NC leader said the Maoists should be ready to give the post of prime minister or head of state to the other parties.

And that is what the Maoists want to avoid at all cost. In an interview with the Post, Maoist chairman Prachanda said they were against creating ‘parallel power centers’. He said allocating the posts of PM and Head of State to different parties could create divided loyalty among the security forces and the international players. “We think it will only complicate the transition,” he said.

The Maoists actually favor amendment of the interim constitution to create a post of executive president, something which seems unlikely since they need to muster a two-third majority for that. The second option they are eyeing is the same leader functioning as prime minister and acting head of state.

But many NC and UML leaders argue that the PM and the Head of State should be from different parties to create checks and balance during the transition.

UML leader Pradeep Gyawali said the spirit of the present constitution is consensus and power sharing among the major political forces. “The Maoist demand that the PM and the Head of State should be from the same party is against the spirit of the constitution and the culture of consensus politics,” he said.

NC leader Narahari Acharya is hopeful that the Maoists will not stick to their current stance to the end. “Since doubt has been raised about Maoist commitment to holding timely elections and a peaceful handover of power in future, we all should work jointly to address this.” He further added: “This is not a time for posturing; we should all work to find a solution acceptable to all.”

Ameet Dhakal is the news editor of the Kathmandu Post where this story originally appeared today.

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41 thoughts on “After the Maoist Victory, Power Sharing a Tricky Issue”

  1. 1. Let king be ousted at the first meeting.
    2. G. P, Koirala be made the honorary first president.
    3 . Pranchanda the active prime minister.
    4. Maoists be allowed the prime portfolios leaving two one each for NC and UML.
    5. NC be given the Peace and Reconstruction Ministry while UMl be given Foreign Ministry.
    6. Other ministries of less influence be shared among NC, UML and other smaller parties.
    7. MJF and other Terai parties may not join the government until positive signs are seen, while making sure that they don’t hinder smooth functioning of Constitution.
    8. RPP should not be doubted because it has already removed king from it’s party policy.
    9. No need to worry of RPP-N because they have already felt humiliated.

    Together let’s build a “New Nepal”

    Cheers

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  2. IP.S. In the 7th point, I have wanted to stress that we need to be sure that Maoist indeed are committed to Terai people’s rights before Madhesi parties actually join the government.

    Positive symptoms means the establishment of harmony between Maoists and Terai-centred Parties.

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  3. let the maosits run govt. the other parties should concentrate on the new constitution. whats the point of nc and uml having peace and foreign ministry – rather not be in govt and concentrate on the constitution. let the maoists take all the ministries – thy wanted a shot without other parties let them have it.

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  4. In my opinion, storming among the parties before forming the government is essential. The quest and request of maoist regading gvn formation seem factual for the time being.

    Like

  5. President should be a consensus candidate. If that is not possible then why not to elect from the vote of new MPS.

    Like

  6. THE DOOMSDAY FORECASTER

    BBCs Rabindra Mishra relishes the opportunities to speak few things in favor of the King, always. In his latest analysis, he concludes-

    ”…many worry that the power struggle between the Maoists and non-Maoists is likely to drag the muddled political process in Nepal for many years to come, leaving the people where they are.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7360223.stm

    In October 2007, he wrote-
    ”Most analysts agree that the Maoists have little chance of doing this through competitive politics…They are not ruling out bloodshed between the army and the Maoists, who have concentrated a large number of their members in Kathmandu…
    From all this mess, it is King Gyanendra who is gaining. From a position of rock-bottom unpopularity, when he had to give up power in April, 2006, his standing has been gradually picking up – thanks to the chaos and discord among the political parties and Maoists. ”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7033689.stm

    In April 2002, he was predicting a coup. Which did happen after 1.5 years .

    ”there can still be a coup in Nepal and can last for years, if the current politicians
    continue to show total disregard to the people’s wishes, as they have been
    doing for the past 12 years. They have taken people like us for granted and
    they believe we would never turn our back on democracy, whatever the
    circumstances. I think they are wrong. So this time around if there will
    ever be a coup, it will be a coup prompted and supported by the majority of
    the people, probably like in Pakistan, who are fed up with the situation of
    the country. Those who will come out on the street against it will only be
    the active members of the student wings of different political parties and
    not the ‘janata’ as such.”

    http://www.sajha.com/archives/openthread.cfm?threadid=4654&dsn=sajhaarchive

    Further back in December 1998, he wrote and article called ‘Confucius’s teaching and the King’s illness –

    ”At present, the King is the only figure the overwhelming majority of Nepalese view with genuine respect and regard despite all the mistakes he is supposed to have made during the panchayat era…Therefore, I doubt that the King, who is well aware of his growing popularity, may have instructed to do so, which was certain to disappoint the press and the public.”

    http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/0295.html

    There are dozens of articles that articulate the special relationship between Mr Mishra’s sentiments and the Nepalis royal palace. These may be mere coincidences or perhaps his readers’ prejudices against the monarchy. However, one can feel the difference in his mood when he writes or interviews on Maoists, Kangresis and Emales at one time and Tulsi Giris, Kirtinidhi Bista and Kamal Thapa at the other times. He is quite optimistic and uplifted when the Monarchy has the upperhand. and very dismal and pessimistic when things are going the other way round. Like his doomsday predictions in the latest article. Sometimes you feel like wow this man is such a great interviewer. The other time you feel like is this guy in the Palace’s payroll? But perhaps he has taken it that the days for Monarchy are now over. And perhaps the doomsday forecast will gradually plummet.

    But hey, this is Nepali politics! And his predictions may well come true as they did in Feb 2005.

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  7. naya Nepal

    Keeping The King as Nepal’s head of state sans power.
    Well, for doing this ,it will costs so much expenses for Nepalis.
    Plus,if Nepali needs him for very religious purpose for the country,what about the separation of ` country and
    religion’?(No more Hindu-only,right?)

    It is the time to give him a kiss and say good bye.

    Like

  8. hi Masayo
    please dont link king with the hinduism,
    hindus had republics long before monarchy,
    in Rigveda Janapathi was elected head of jana.
    in historical time too vishali,matsya,kalinga etc were republics.
    but let me tell you one thing in in indian states (kerala and andrapradesh ) who is more happy of Nepal being diclared as secular is Christian churches .
    as I am working with churches as Editor of gospels
    they have started all sorts of plans to convert poor hindus in nepal to christianity by all possible means
    money,propaganda,cheating any thing
    so please be carefull of indian christians .I am not giving my name becouse I my self a nepali christian and I have to survive

    Like

  9. haina, why can’t anyone think of monarchy as a business?
    Let the kings have everything they got by 2047 constitution. For return, they should give something back to the state. Make them have very high lifestyle. And them get people with lots of money meet them. They do similar things in the UK and they are fine…
    What no educated person should say is that Kings are the things of the past and that this is 21st century. Throughout history there have been kings, even in the ancient republics, which are such favorite of anti-king, though they may be given different names. By denying the existence of kings one is just denying the word and NOT the entity it represents…
    About religion…I’m sure their Majesties will be more than happy to represent more than one religion. The Shahs were originally Muslims, so Islam won’t be a problem. Buddhism is so interconnected with hinduism that one really does not need say much.And don’t forbid Missionaries. If their belief is the best, there is absolutely no reason why they should not be allowed…They just should not try to bribe people into their religion…as they do now…If their beliefs are so good why resort to crude methods like bribing???

    Like

  10. Jay Nepal, on April 22nd, 2008 at 5:52 pm Said:
    Why not the PRESIDENT be elected from the vote of MPs?

    biplab, on April 22nd, 2008 at 9:57 am Said:
    1. Let king be ousted at the first meeting.
    2. G. P, Koirala be made the honorary first president.

    I agree with Jay Nepal. CA members will elect the President for now. Down the road it should be the people who will elect the President of Nepal.

    Both the King Gyanendra and the Primeminister Girija should be ousted right away. King has already lost his usefulness and Girija is responsible for the downfall of 1990 democratic gains.

    Like

  11. I very much doubt that Prachanda or Baburam Bhattarai will win the Presidency in general election. In this CA election they were able to get only 30 percent of the vote cast. To win in the general election any candidate must get more than 50 percent of the vote. In the upcoming CA , Maoists will have 38 percent seats (120 FPTP+100PR). If the election for the presidency is held within CA members, Maoist candidate need help from other political party members. It’s doable but needed lot of wheelings and dealings. On the other hand they can always use YCL.

    Like

  12. In Presidential election, the contest is between the two primary candidates. There wont be any vote division among many parties as in the general election. Plus, if no one reaches majority, the least voted candidates are removed and then their votes are redistributed to the top candidates. This is done until the majority is not reached. So, if Prachanda runs for election, there would be no stopping him. He is sure to succeed.

    Like

  13. I am not an anti-democratic element posting in this blog, but I still have the view that the monarchy should not be removed totally from Nepal. The institution of monarchy should remain a purely “cultural” one, just like the type of king in Mustang.

    The current problem of the people of Nepal is about “Food, Shelter and Clothing”. The problem in the county Nepal is the interference and conflict of three world powers India, China and USA.

    I don’t expect much from the Maoists unless they can keep their “mother” happy. They are RAW trained. The Indian Gurkhas were used form their training. They have come all the way here just because of India. They have sold our Nationality from the Interim constitution. The made it possible for all Indians to take the citizenship of Nepal. And they sold three hydro power projects in a cheap price. I request people reading this blog not to expect anything from the CA, except a few pro-Indian decisions which is going to make Nepal something like Sikkim or Bhutan.

    If the Maoists switch sides to China, top leaders will be murdered like Madan Bhandari.

    Like

  14. It would be difficult for Prachanda and Baburam, as with whatever method they have garnered 30% only. So the others would probably just place one candidate to run against Prachanda – and with the maoist saying either for us or against us they would lose with a 70-30 split – even with rigging. On top of that coming from Kirtipur, where many voted Prachanda, the vote was for peace not an endorsement of the people’s war. So I doubt even 30% will vote for Prachanda in a Presidential race. But then we are a parliamentary democracy not an executive govt.

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  15. I think Presidencies should be avoided – we’ve seen what it can do – George Bush and the Iraq war.
    Power centred on one person – Gyanendra and his royal regime – No thanks to persona based politics – where is the inclusion and participation by the masses?

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  16. This is the time to decentralise power -like what the maoists and the rest were saying (unless ofcourse they want a dictatorship) – Presdential system in a tiny nation like ours will only centralise the power more. To take s-it we wll need the President’s permisssion. We may have to change the word to procreate to FUCP (Fornication under Consent of the President). I think all this talk of Presidency are floated by people who want a totalitarian dictatorship in this nation.

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  17. I have no doubt that Prachanda and Baburam will win should there be a direct election for presidency. I mean who can even give candidacy agaist them with YCL just around the corner. Very democratic!!

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  18. There is still doubt that these leaders can run the country. They are more relying with Indian govt,. Once the Indian govt. support divert to anyone, these leaders will be nowhere as simple as game of chess.

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  19. we’ve heard useful idiots – but is india the useful idiot of mao or mao the useful idiot of india – depends who wins the game – one for dictatorship the other for annexe. anyone betting?

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  20. I think, the power sharing issue is gonna be very complex.
    Parties have started to excercise in this matter. No one had imagined that Maoists get about 40% seats in CA and when the parties went wrong, in my opinion, they have started to think how to make maoist failure.(It is heard in the market as well) If this is really true, they are doing wrong job. .I wish I’m wrong.
    It’s the time to draft a very good constitution and that would be the example for the countries that are facing conflict.
    They must form a coalition government. There is no other option……….
    Let’s make prosperous NEPAL..

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  21. But, come on, with maoists’ ultra-marxist economic policy can we have a prosperous Nepal. If leaders like Hisila Yami, who after being elected in the respectable post of Member of CA, shouted like a village idiot in front of TV camera calling the 86 yr old Prime Minister an idiot , nake policy only Lord Pashupatinath can save us
    That is what most non-maoist party cadres are worried about and they therefore don’t wan’t their party to be a part of the government. If anything goes wrong, the maoists are sure to point fingers at other parties. They should get a taste of running a country alone and then they can understand how complicated it really is, unlike the comrades’ oversimplified mass speeches to their illiterate cadres…

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  22. Maoists are all Indian trained and loyal RAW agents. This is all a plot to make Nepal a puppet regime like Bhutan under the Maoists or they will try to “Sikkmise” Nepal.

    If Prachanda tries to switch sides to China. He will be murdered like Madan Bhandari.

    RAW and Indians are eating up Nepal. 2 out of 5 people here are RAW agents. There is no one to trust. There is no National Pride in politicians. Our Head of state is himself a Indian born “Takakpur bachhua”. What more can we expect??

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  23. People voted what is the big fuss? I expected these exact percentages as everyone else did. King has always been very maoist and army very roayal. Religious rest of the world busy with incenses. Somebody has to pump water that will be the forgotten real people. From dubai. not laughing.

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  24. Aakhir ma maobadi le kasari jitya rahecha bhanne pani dekhyo sathi ho….booth capture, rival lai patai, dadagiri gare ta maile ni padkaunthe hola samsad post……

    Like

  25. This election is all crap!!! Had KIng G participated in the election then i would say it was a fair election..

    He didnt even have the rights to vote…

    Head of State should be the head of Army. The only people oriented institution in Nepal.

    Like

  26. Ha ha ha.
    Some comments in the blog make me laugh. For example ‘naya Nepal’ says ‘Army is the only people oriented institution in Nepal’. That’s the most ridiculous comment I’ve seen in this blog. It’s good to exert your points, but don’t try to make your point on false and baseless assumptions.

    Like

  27. hey ppl fear to spit venom on maoists.they are already on power represented by ppl.ya its still the wait and see phase but its not a right way to make hotch-potch decision about their major political entrance in nepalese politics.good things are still to come lets be hopeful and positive. asha garau aba bagmati le sukkha paunechha ani melamchile chadainai dhara lyaunechha.

    Like

  28. mr. abhinav…

    Try to broaden your vision. There is something called “internet”.. just google it bullshit (if you have the brains). Try to read other useful stuff except “kantipur”

    Like

  29. I have been with the Maoists and researched on them. The fact that they got some support from India and RAW is true. We all know what kind of influence the “world powers” have in our country. Most of the things what Harke said are true because I have been through it.

    Our Head of State Mr. Koirala has done more good to India than Nepal. That is a fact, and we are aware of it. The does not deserve the post of PM.

    But I don’t think that Prachanda is the new Madan Bhandari. If there is anyone who can change the face of this nation that is Prachanda. We should support them and kick out foreign interference from our country. Let Nepal be Nepal.

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  30. Dear Mr. Harke, let me have a discussion over each of ur craps.

    1.Maoists are all Indian trained and loyal RAW agents.
    2. This is all a plot to make Nepal a puppet regime like Bhutan under the Maoists or they will try to “Sikkmise” Nepal.
    3. Prachanda tries to switch sides to China. He will be murdered like Madan Bhandari.

    My View:
    Please identify your sources for each ot these craps. We have to believe you if u can give some genuine links for them.

    4. RAW and Indians are eating up Nepal.
    5. 2 out of 5 people here are RAW agents. There is no one to trust.

    Dude, how long it’s been that u working for Raw?

    6. There is no National Pride in politicians.

    My view:

    I am not so sure whether to agree with u or disagree with you in this regards. But one thing is for sure that is the political awareness among the people has certainly grown during this period. You can see from the election results that most corrupt ones have been filtrated out. The next election that is going to occur will have the even better among the leaders i.e. leaders with political vision and everything. Plus, we too gonna have more younger and pragmatic leaders.

    But, the tag that all politicians have no national pride is bullshit. It suits the likes of Kamal Thapa and not everyone.

    6. Our Head of state is himself a Indian born “Takakpur bachhua”. What more can we expect??

    My View:
    So what? Sonia Gandhi is the most praised Indian politicialn.

    Barrak Obama has links with Indonesia and Kenya.

    Birth and the nationality-feel are different factors dude. You aren’t a Nepali just becaue u r born here or possess the citizenship. It comes with your heart.

    Dude, if you have anything more to offer, please, I am available for discussion.

    Like

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