Nepal’s Constitution

Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) just settled one of the remaining big issues for the new constitution.  There will be a directly elected President and a parliament-elected Prime Minister.  Unresolved issues include the most contentious of all, how the states should be structured.  The Maoist party, whose vice-chairman Baburam Bhatterai is currently Prime Minister, wants eleven federal states.  The other big parties, the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, want eight.  The alliance of small Madhesi parties wants a single province for the Madhesis who make up around half of Nepal’s total population.

The fundamental issue is whether states should be based primarily on language/ethnicity, economics or geography.

The CA was elected on 10 April 2008 to establish a new constitution within two years.  Earlier election dates in June and November of 2007 had been missed.  When the CA failed to meet its April 2010 deadline they granted themselves another year.  With little progress made by then, they granted themselves a further year.  When they missed that deadline, too, they were given a hard one of May 27.

The Maoists had gotten a third of the seats in the CA in the 2008 election by promising representation to Nepal’s ethnic minorities.  Four years later, as the May 27 deadline draws near there are rallies, protests and strikes all across the country.  Hard deadlines usually don’t mean much in Nepal but the people are angry at long last.  There’s no electricity 14 hours a day, food and fuel prices are rising fast, unemployment is high and soaring.  Everything is hard and getting worse for almost everyone except the politicians.  They are getting richer and, Nepalis say, doing nothing.  There could be mass violence if the CA is still deadlocked on May 27.

The pressure is high enough it seems likely the CA can pass a constitution by May 27 with everything resolved except state structure.   They might defer that to a new commission, which would likely be acceptable to UN observers following the process and India, which would have to intervene if Nepal became overtly ungovernable.

Baburam Bhatterai is the only politician who commands any respect from Nepalis.  He surprised almost everyone by resolving the equally long-standing issue of reintegrating the Maoist “soldiers” into society and he may succeed in getting a compromise of this kind accepted.

4 comments on “Nepal’s Constitution

    • , for the hope that his election has creeatd. It remains to be seen if he can live up to the people’s expectations.And for your misinformed stand that I brought Gagan in the story forcefully: You will notice, if you think just for a minute while carefully reading the piece, that the theme of the article is popularity’ of the political class. It is also a reverse side of the story that I did sometime back in Kantipur with this title: You may not want to believe but Gagan, like BRB, is one of those few very popular’ political leaders in Nepal today. Another is Gokarna Bista who has also been included in the story. The difference between blind BRB fans like you and BRB himself is that BRB considers Gagan one of the most promising and popular leaders in Nepal today. BRB told this in a Q&A with Kantipur sometime back. (He was asked to identify two potential leaders from inside and outside the Maoist party. The other guy he named is now the finance minister in his cabinet- Pun). And you don’t seem to have read the article carefully (instead jumped quickly to discredit it) because if you had you would have found the reasons for Gagan’s inclusion in the story itself.How easily you say that people change with time, their opinion changes….n it’s not a big deal. That IS a big deal because that shows how they have evolved and how their current stage is shaped up. You say it doesn’t matter as long as one is honest. There is a line in the article= तर ती आलोचनाले भट्टराईमा सफलतामा खासै असर परेको देख्न सकिन्न । My impression is that while blindly following BRB you seem to have developed the habit to become paranoid by seen one critical line and concluding that the whole article ONLY criticizes but doesn’t appreciate.And you have a question to me:look at urself….if u r a baburam fan, what motivates you to find so many faults within him? double faced, yeah?????????My answer would be this: I feel BRB is better than many other contemporary leaders BUT I am not his blind and diehard fan like you are. So I try to see both positive and negative side of the person I admire. And I am a journalist- not a Maoist cadre- whose duty is to show both sides of the coin to readers. I am accountable to my readers (you are one of them) but not to BRB.

      • the lesson from nepal election is that no one is permanent. kings had been governing for the last 240yrs in nepal, suspended easily despite their unique power. maoists will be sacked within few years. look those corrupted faces -NC,UML sliding on the edge of cliff which they peaked many times. if maoists follow the same steps,no way.

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