Category Archives: Constituent Assembly 3

The Campaign Trail: Election Violence vs. Code of Conduct

This ‘Constituent Assembly Member Election 2008 Observation Bulletin’ was prepared by the National Election Monitoring Alliance (NEMA)

1. CPN Maoist (CPN-M) cadres attacked Nepali Congress (NC) candidate for Dhadhing Constituency -1 Mr. Dilman Pakhrin along with other nine other party cadres this morning at 0330 hours in Baseri VDC Dhading. All of them were sleeping at Mr. Santa Bahadur Tamang’s house. CPN-M cadres used sticks and khukuris while attacking. NC Area President Mr. Bhakta Bahadur Lama along with two other party cadres Mr. Jash Bahadur Gurung and Mr. Lal Bahadur Gurung have been seriously injured, while eight other people were sustained minor injury. Moreover, CPN-M cadres have caused damage the house owned by Mr. Santa Bahadur Tamang. Continue reading The Campaign Trail: Election Violence vs. Code of Conduct

Respected Lawabiding People….

A close look at the political speeches: Boring they might be, but speeches are necessary during this season of the Constituent Assembly elections. Demand for highprofile orators is increasing.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

[Nepali version of this story will appear in tomorrow’s Koseli of Kantipur daily. A shorter version of the story will appear in tomorrow’s Kathmandu Post.]

Gagan Thapa addresses a campaign rally in Kirtipur last Saturday (22 March). Pic by Bikas Karki

“Comrade chairman,” comrade guest said as he stepped up to the microphone. “Comrade members of the UML’s standing and central committees who are on the dais and all the law-abiding people present at this mass meeting. I would like to greet you with the revolutionary lal salaam (red salute) on behalf of the UML.”

Lal salaam! It was UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal addressing an electoral program in New Baneshwor last Sunday. Nepal wanted to clarify something before indirectly chiding the Maoists and mentioning a few points from his party’s election manifesto in the 25-minute-long speech. “Friends,” he said, “as the campaign moves forward, leaders and actors might lose their voices.” Continue reading Respected Lawabiding People….

UNMIN Election Report No 1: Abide by the Election Code of Conduct

This report has been prepared by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), in conjunction with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal. The United Nations was requested to assist in creating a free and fair atmosphere for the election of a Constituent Assembly, including through UNMIN’s monitoring of the ceasefire and the management of arms and armies and OHCHR’s human rights monitoring.

Conditions for Constituent Assembly election on 10 April 2008

Nepal is today better positioned than at any time since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in November 2006 to hold a credible Constituent Assembly election, a critical milestone in the peace process. Significant political hurdles that had seriously threatened to derail the process have been overcome, although not entirely removed. Continue reading UNMIN Election Report No 1: Abide by the Election Code of Conduct

Carter Center Urges an End to Election Related Violence

The Carter Center, that is here to observe the Constituent Assembly election, says it “strongly condemns” the YCL violence in the hill and mountain districts. The following is a press statement release yesterday:

[A Candidate Killed: An unidentified group shot dead Kamal Prasad Adhikari, a candidate of the National People’s Front Nepal (NPFN) for the CA polls from Banke district constituency-2, on yesterday night. A masked group of around six persons came to Adhikari’s house last night at around 11 at Bethaani in the district and fired four rounds of bullets at him. Jawala Singh -led Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM-J) has owned up the responsibility of the killing. (more here)

The Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal has observed the pre-electoral environment in the country for the past 14 months. The Center is encouraged by the level of electoral preparations and campaigning presently taking place, as this represents a marked increase from the two previous election periods in June and November 2007.

Meanwhile the European Union has established a mission to observe the Constituent Assembly election and the EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) organized a press conference yesterday to let the public know about their presence in Nepal. The head of the mission Jan Mulder, a member of the European Parliament, addressed reporters. The mission will comprise of 120 observers from 22 different EU countries, as well as Norway and Switzerland, a press statement issued at the news conference stated.

A guy who were seated next to Mulder threw a satire to the reporters who came late in the press conference. I agree with him that they should have come in time. I also must tell him to learn a bit about organizing press conference. Just because you are from Europe to “observe” the elections and to “promote” democracy doesn’t mean you can organize good press conferences. I saw Kieran Dwyer of UNMIN in the conference. He might be able to share some of the tricks and skills of having an organized press conference to Anna Owen, the so called press officer of the Mission. Kieran should also tell Anna that she should be responding to emails from reporters because the job of a “press officer” is not just to sit on the dais and point out the reporter to ask the questions. Though I hate the unnecessary bureaucracy that is seen in UNMIN press conference (your bag has to go through metal dictator and you must exchange your ID card with the one they provide for the purpose of press conference), they are good when it comes to the handling inside the hall. I also like them for sending the English transcript of the Q and A though I think the Nepali transcript, which comes late, is useless even for a reporter like me who works for a Nepali language newspaper. Also, a waste of manpower!

The moral of the post is: Those who come to “promote” democracy in a country like Nepal where we have seen historical participation of people in the pro-democracy movements (twice in 16 years) should come to Nepal with some degree of preparation about how you are going to “promote” democracy here. By the way, the Nepali version of the EU EOM press release uses the word “prajatanrta” for “democracy”. The translator seems to have no idea about what happened in April 2006 and there after. Because of the changed context and situation, Nepali people have started using “loktantra” for the word “democracy”. Here is the press release. –DW

Additionally, following the signing of the United Madhesi Democratic Front (UMDF) agreement, the security situation has improved significantly in the Terai, though many districts remain fragile. All across the country, the Center’s long term observers report that the people of Nepal want to participate in the constituent assembly election and expect that a successful election will bring sustainable peace, democracy, and prosperity to Nepal. Continue reading Carter Center Urges an End to Election Related Violence

The Campaign Trail: Following Prachanda in Kathmandu-10

I followed Maoist chairman Prachanda’s election campaign trail in Kathmandu-10 election constituency last week for a few days. I watched him addressing a few small gatherings of his supporters and general public that was either sympathetic to the party or undecided about whom to vote. Only a few were critical of the Maoist party. After addressing a mass meeting in his constituency Prachanda also went to see the families of two former PLA guerillas who were disappeared during the insurgency. In front of the house of one of the disappeared guerilla, the chairman addressed a small gathering of a few dozen people for a few minutes. Here is the story:

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

prachanda campaign trail nepal constituent assembly elections

Ratnamaya Shrestha, 46, (left) listened to the Prachanda speech standing about two hundred meters away from where Prachanda was speaking (in Kot Ghar, Thankot). The housewife, a registered voter from the area, said: “He talked about making a new city. But here we have scarcity of cooking gas. We have problem with load shedding. Here is scarcity of daily consumption materials. He didn’t talk about this.”

Kot Ghar, Thankot (Friday 7th March): As soon as he got off the SUV with dark windshield on the main road Comrade Prachanda received vermilion powder and garlands from his supporters who were waiting for him to appear in the constituency (Kathmandu-10’s Thankot area). As Prachanda walked towards the mass meeting venue, Kot Ghar a cultural center of the neighborhood where animals are scarified during the largest Hindu festival Dashain and other festivities are organized, two men continuously played the traditional Newari musical instruments. It was about nine in the morning. Continue reading The Campaign Trail: Following Prachanda in Kathmandu-10