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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Controversy Over CPN Founding Day

Yuba Nath Lamsal

It has been 62 years since the communist party was formed in Nepal. Some leftist groups marked September 15 as the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN). However, a large section of leftists do not subscribe to the proposition that September 15 is the founding day. Instead they claim that the communist party was founded on April 22, 1949.

Divided issue

Nepal’s communists lock horns over every issue, which has contributed to the fragmentation of the communist movement. They differ on and dispute even on a minor issue, keeping them divided and disintegrated. The issue concerning the founding day of the communist party has also fallen into controversy, with different groups observing the founding day on different dates. This controversy is not a new phenomenon but began soon after the communist party was formed. Even researchers are divided on this issue.

Dr. Surendra KC and Dr. Raj Kumar Pokhrel are two prominent scholars who are said to be the authority on Nepal’s communist movement. Their Ph. D theses were on the communist movement in Nepal and have written several articles and books on its history and development. However, these two scholars have differing views on the founding day of the Communist Party of Nepal. Dr. KC is of the view that April 22 is the founding day of the communist party in Nepal while Dr. Pokhrel claims it is September 15.

Most communist parties, including the CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoist, are of the belief that April 22 is the founding day. They claim that September 15 is the day when the manifesto of the Communist Party of Nepal was issued, but it was not the founding day. But some groups and individuals are of the view that there is no documental proof to substantiate that the communist party was formed on April 22, 1949. According to them, the communist party had formally come into being with the announcement of its manifesto, which took place on September 15, 1949.

They further claim that a communist party should be based on ideology and programmes. The birth of a communist party must be along with its programmes, policies, goals and objectives, which should clearly be clearly spelled out in written form and format. The Communist Party of Nepal, thus, begins with the issuance of its political doctrine or manifesto. A mere verbal decision to form a party without any documental proof, organisational shape and set-up as well as programmes cannot mean that a revolutionary communist party has been born.

This school of thought argues that a gathering of some revolutionary-minded people had taken place in Shyam Bazaar of Calcutta to mark the birth anniversary of Lenin on April 22, 1949. This gathering had felt the necessity of a revolutionary communist party in Nepal, which could launch a revolution not only to oust the oligarchic Rana regime but also establish republican democracy.

A decision had, thus, been taken on April 22, 1949 to form the communist party, but there is no formal document to support that the party was formed on that day. Arriving at a decision to form a party and formation of a party are two different things. Thus, the decision to form a party cannot mean that the party was formally formed.

Despite the decision to form the communist party, the group soon after dispersed. Although the idea was noble, it could not take organisational shape. It was Pushpa Lal Shrestha who pursued it seriously and finally announced the Communist Party on September 15.

This group claims that even Pushpa Lal has written that only discussion had been held and a decision was taken to move ahead for the formation of a revolutionary communist party in Nepal.

This group further claims that Pushpa Lal had been entrusted to write the party document for the formal announcement of the party. It had taken him nearly six months for him to write and finalise the document outlining the necessity and rationale for the formation of a revolutionary communist party and its policies and programmes.

A document on the Nepali communist revolution was prepared, which was called the Manifesto of the Communist Party of Nepal and was released on September 15, concurrently announcing the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal.

Some even argue that the communist party was formed even earlier. Dr. Raj Kumar Pokhrel, author of the book ‘A Journey of the Communists in Nepal’, claims that a communist party called ‘Communist Organisation’ had been formed in 1948 at the initiative of some young revolutionaries, including Sambhu Ram Shrestha. But there is no written and evidential document about it.

However, other groups are firm on their claim that the decision to form the communist party was taken on April 22, 1949, and accordingly a five-member party organisation had been announced. This was the birth of the communist party in Nepal, comprising Puspa Lal Shrestha as its founding general secretary and Nar Bahadur Karmacharya, Narayan Bilas Joshi, Niranjan Govinda Vaidya and Moti Devi as other members.

After the formation of the party, the committee entrusted general secretary Pushpa Lal Shrestha to write a constitution, manifesto and programmes of the new party. As per the instruction and mandate of the party, Pushpa Lal prepared the manifesto which was unveiled on September 15, 1949. So there should be no confusion on April 22 as the founding day of the party and September 15 as the day of the declaration of the communist party’s manifesto.

Both schools of thought have their own claims and counterclaims and logic. It is true that there is no written document to prove April 22 as the founding day of the communist party. The only surviving founding leader of the Communist Party of Nepal is Nara Bahadur Karmacharya, who, too, subscribes to Pushpa Lal Shrestha’s view on the issue of the party’s founding day.

As controversy raged on this issue, three founding leaders Nara Bahadur Karmacharya, Narayan Bilas Joshi and Niranjan Govinda Vaidya had issued a press statement in 1959 calling upon all to consider April 22 as the founding day.

So far as September 15 is concerned, it is also an important and historic day in Nepal’s communist movement. This is the day when the communist party formally came up with its political, economic and programmes and its goals and objectives. Thus, both the dates are important for the Nepali Communist movement.

Nepali Communist movement has come of age. In the 62 years of its chequered history, the communist movement in Nepal has seen both successes and setbacks. The most impressive success of the Nepali communist movement is its ability to educate and convince the people on the necessity and rationale of communist ideology and a revolution in Nepal. Now communists have overwhelming majority in the country. Even in the Constituent Assembly which was formed through an election three and a half years ago, communists enjoy a comfortable majority.

The setback and negative side are the fragmentation of the communist movement and bitter rivalry among the different communist groups.

Instead of working together and cooperating with one another to counter other reactionary parties and their attacks, the communists are fighting against each other, which has only benefitted the rightists and reactionary parties.

Shun controversy

Since the communist parties are not unanimous even on the issue of the founding day, ideological and political unity among them is next to impossible. All parties claim to be the genuine organisation of the poor, downtrodden and the working class. However, a genuine revolutionary party will not attack the fraternal party and group but try to forge an alliance against the common enemy - rightists, reactionaries and imperialists. This has dampened the image and popular base and organisational strength of the communist parties.

The situation, therefore, requires the communist parties to shun controversy on petty issues and instead work together for the boarder interest of the revolution and radical change in the country.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

SAARC-China partnership

Yuba Nath Lamsal

Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai has recently made some important remarks
that will have a far-reaching impact on Nepal's foreign policy. In public
speeches in two separate programs last week, Prime Minister Bhattarai sought
China's entry into South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
as a full-fledged member. In his first ever policy statement announced in
parliament, Premier Bhattarai opined that China's entry into the SAARC was
necessary to bolster meaningful cooperation in South Asia. He also expressed
similar views in the conference of China-South Asia Friendship Organizations
Forum.

These remarks are the policy and commitment of the new government which was
formed under Bhattarai's leadership three weeks ago. Bhattarai's remarks
provide the impression that the new government would bring about some
rupture not only in the domestic politics but also in the foreign policy
priorities of the Himalayan Republic.

His remarks are more meaningful in the present context. Like most
politicians in Nepal, Dr Bhattarai had been viewed by many as a leader
having close affinity with India and accordingly having soft attitude and
stance towards India compared to other countries. Born in Nepal and educated
and politically trained in India, Dr Bhattarai has his own logics on Nepal's
relations with India because of which he is being criticized even within his
party. In the dissenting political document presented to the sixth expanded
meeting ( plenum) held in Palungtar of Gorkha district last year, Bhattarai
had serious differences with party chairman Prachanda and another vice
president Mohan Vaidya 'Kiran' on issue pertaining to principal
contradiction. Prachanda and Vaidya had pointed out India as the principal
contradiction of the party and Nepali revolution. They advocated the need
for launching a national liberation movement to free Nepal from the
semi-feudal and semi-colonized state. Bhattarai had strongly opposed this
and advocated that principal contradiction of Nepali revolution is with the
domestic reactionaries and party's struggle also should be targeted to them.

Bhattarai has his own reasons and arguments to substantiate his views. But
discrepancies can be seen in his views expressed in the document presented
in the Palungtar plenum and the views expressed in media in the form of
articles and interviews. Bhattarai, in his articles and interviews, has
opined that Nepal is in semi-colonized state. According to him, Nepal was
reduced to semi-colonial state after the Anglo-Nepal war in 1814-16. The
Sugauli Treaty that was imposed by the British colonial power had limited
Nepal's sovereignty. Although Nepal was not directly ruled by British
imperial power, it was controlled indirectly through some highly
objectionable provisions of the Sugauli Treaty. Although India was freed
from British rule in 1947, it was not decolonized in practical sense. Out of
British India, two young countries were born-India and Pakistan. But India
claimed to be the inheritor of the British raj which gave continuity to the
old colonial rule. The position and policies of India especially in its
neighborhood remains unchanged even when it was liberated from British
colonial power.

In this sense, Nepal's status has remained unchanged and Dr Bhattarai is
right in his analysis of Nepal's status. However, Dr Bhattarai's views in
his document presented in the Palungtar conclave of the party were in sharp
contrast to what he has been advocating. In the party document, Dr Bhattarai
deferred not only with the views of party chairman Prachanda and senior vice
chairman Mohan Vaidya but also contradicted his earlier voice especially in
designating the principal contradiction or enemy.

If Nepal is in semi-colonial status as Dr Bhattarai claims, the first
priority of Nepali revolution and Nepali people should be to launch a
national liberation movement. The Sugauli Treaty rendered Nepal into
semi-colonial status for which British were to be blamed. After independence
of India from the British colonial rule, situation should have been
reversed. However, India pursued the same old colonial legacy, which
continues even today. India's neighborhood policy is guided by its colonial
legacy-control weak neighbors by trick and coercion. After independence,
India imposed a new version of Sugauli Treaty in 1950 on Nepal. Some of the
provisions of the new treaty are worse than the earlier accord. The 1950
treaty, which Nepalese dub as an unequal deal, is the basis of bilateral
relations between Nepal and India.

In the present context, India and its Nepal's policy are responsible for
Nepal's underdeveloped and poor condition, which can be duly described as
semi-colonized status. In such a situation, our national priority should be
to protect independence from Indian domination and hegemony. When the
country is in semi-colonized state, the principal contradiction can never be
domestic reactionary. In such a situation, national liberation movement must
be fought against external domination in collaboration with nationalist and
patriotic forces even if they are reactionaries and rightist. In Nepal's
case, all patriotic forces, irrespective of their political ideology and
leaning, must be together in order to fight Indian hegemony and domination
to protect Nepal's national independence and sovereignty.

However, Dr Bhattarai's remarks on SAARC-China relations are definitely
praiseworthy. He has advocated China's full-fledged entry into the SAARC.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a group of
eight countries of South Asia-Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan. Despite having eight members, the
association has revolved around India because of its physical and economic
size, military strength and other clout. India has pitched this South Asian
group as a forum to gang up against New Delhi. It may be true to certain
extent but New Delhi's allegation is not fully true. Some countries may try
to use the forum to serve its own interest which may harm other member's
sentiment and interest. This is common in all regional and international
forums but member states need to be extra cautious not to allow the
organization to be used and misused by a particular country or countries.
Realizing, perhaps, this fact, SAARC Charter has clearly stated that
bilateral matters are not to be taken up in the SAARC and also the
decision-making process would be on the basis of consensus. There are both
pros and cons of these provisions. Its positive side is that all countries
would take the ownership on the decision if decisions are made on the basis
of consensus. The provision of avoiding contentious issue aims at preventing
any kind of deadlock in the organization. The contentious bilateral issues
often stall the entire process. It has negative side too. In the name of
avoiding contentious issues, some of the most pressing problems facing the
people of this region have not been resolved. In the absence of resolution
of such burning problems, any kind of meaningful cooperation and development
in the region may not be possible. That has exactly been the case with the
SAARC.

South Asia is the region of largest number of poor people. Despite it having
tremendous potentials for development, this region has lagged far behind in
terms of development. The region has not been able to prosper because of
the crisis of trust and lack of cooperation among the countries of South
Asia. The sole objective of SAARC was to bolster regional cooperation and
transform the region into a prosperous and powerful one. However, the SAARC
has not been able to move as had been expected. The lack of trust among the
countries has obstructed cooperation in the SAARC region. In the absence of
meaningful cooperation, the validity of the SAARC may come to an end.

There are number of reasons for the lackluster performance of the SAARC. One
is the deficit of trust among the member states. Most of the SAARC members
have problem with India because of New Delhi's hegemonic neighborhood
policy. the other one is the lack of resources to share. SAARC needs
resources to attack South Asia's common enemy-absolute poverty. The only
country that has resources is India but New Delhi is preoccupied with its
own problems. Thus, this region requires outside support and fund for its
development. With the objective of bringing more fund, some countries were
inducted into this regional group as observers which include China, United
States of America, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar
and the European Union. However, observer status to China does not appear to
be appropriate. China is a country that has land or maritime border with all
South Asian countries. By dint of this, China is very much part of South
Asia. China, thus, should be invited to the SAARC as a full-fledged member.

China's entry into the SAARC is in the benefit of the entire South Asian
region. Now China is world's economic superpower. It has huge amount to
invest whereas South Asia is in need of big investment. China has invested
in all continents including Africa and South America. If given entry into
the SAARC, Beijing would be willing to contribute to the development of its
own backyard. Moreover, China has friendly and cooperative relations with
all its members except one or two. Thus, China may be more than happy to be
part of the organization in its own neighborhood. Against this background,
Prime Minister Dr Bhattarai's opinion carries special significance. It would
bode well if Nepal becomes the first country to formally propose for the
entry of China into the SAARC as a full member. Prime Minister Bhattarai is,
therefore, expected to take the lead in this process for the common good of
the entire South Asia and Chain as well.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nepalese need to learn lessons from Libya

Yuba Nath Lamsal

Catastrophe does not take place with prior notice and warning. But this is
not the case with Libya's Colonel Maummar Gaddafi. There had been loud and
clear warning of political tsunami in Libya long ago. The Arab Spring and
Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution that swept across the Middle East and North
Africa (MENA) should have served a clear warning to Libya's dictator. But
Gaddafi failed to read the writing on the wall and people's mood, which
proved costly for him. Had he sensed the magnitude of the revolution and
protests that had been snowballing since last February and acted in time to
pacify the people's rebellion, he would not have met such a humiliating
fate. As a result, 42-year old erratic rule of Libya's dictator came to a
bad end. And the Gaddafi's regime in Tripoli collapsed like a house of
cards.

The Jasmine Revolution that forced Tunisia's dictator flee the country
paving the way for multi-party political system sent a message of freedom
across the entire MENA region. After Tunisia, the revolution pushed Egyptian
dictator Hosni Mubarak's out of power. The fervor of revolution and protest
has now engulfed Syria, Yemen, Iran, Jordon, Bahrain Qatar and several other
countries in the region. The Arab dictators are tottering under popular
discontent and protest. With Libya's eccentric dictator already out of
power, Syria's iron-fist ruler Basir al Assad is, perhaps, counting his days
as the protest against him is building up every passing day. Iran is in the
process s of implosion and Saudi Arabia's king, too, is likely to face the
wrath of people anytime.

The success of revolutionaries in seizing the Libya has given a morale boost
to revolutionaries all over the Arab world and North Africa. Although
reports are still sketchy, one thing is sure that Maummar Gaddafi is out of
power and oil-rich Libya has been liberated from his worst rule. Despite
sporadic gunfire and resistance from Qaddafi's loyalists in certain pockets,
the revolutionaries have already taken control over most parts of the
country including capital Tripoli and other major cities. The protracted
resistance and war against the dictator finally came to fruition as rebels
have been able to seize Libyan capital Tripoli recently. There is no chance
of Gaddafi's coming back to power. This is a triumphant of people's
resistance.

It had not been thought that the rebels would so quickly enter into Tripoli
and siege control of Libya. It was sudden but daring. With rebels taking
control over Tripoli, people got euphoric albeit with some fear of
insecurity due to exchange of gunfire. However, the euphoria is slowly dying
down and it is turning into despair as country has now fallen into the trap
of civil war. Given the circumstances in Libya, the future looks gloomy and
bleak as Libya's case is different from other countries. In Tunisia and
Egypt, the revolution was home-grown with moral support from outside. But
Libya's revolution was more sponsored and supported by outsider especially
western countries and a few Arab dictators, which is a big insult to the
revolutionary and patriotic Libyan people.

Although Libya has been liberated from the iron-fist rule of the worst
dictator of the 21st century, there are many questions that have remained
unanswered. The first and the foremost question is whether the revolution in
Libya is a genuine resistance of the people or just an instigation of
external forces and imperialists. The way the rebels were backed by Arab
dictators, it is becoming clearer that the mission Libya was not meant for
liberation of the people from dictatorial rule but a design to oust Gaddafi
and install in his place a pro-West government so that the west could
control over Libya's oil and natural resources. The imperialists wanted to
get rid of Gaddafi because he was not willing to do what the western
countries desired. They want to replace him with a more pliant and obedient
stooge. Above all, they want to get their hands on Libya's rich oil
supplies. Greed, not humanitarianism, is their real motive. The uprising
against Gaddafi provided them with an opportunity that was too good to miss.
The western world especially the United States had long been seeking Colonel
Gaddafi's ouster from power simply because the Libyan dictator was its
staunch critic.

The rebels were able to overpower Gaddafi's sophisticated and well-armed and
well-equipped army not on their own strength but because of the support they
got from NATO troops and some western powers mainly the United States of
America, Britain, France and Italy. In the name of protecting civilians and
under the cover of UN resolution, have killed more civilians than Gaddafi's
forces did during the six-month conflict. The NATO troops not only attacked
Gaddafi's key targets and installations but also gave full air security
coverage for the fighting rebels, which made the advancement of the rebels
possible.

It was tough and difficult for the rebels to enter Tripoli and drive Gaddafi
and his army away from the heart of the capital. But it is more difficult to
rule the country and maintain full control. Moreover, the anti-Gaddafi
alliance is so fragile and divided that it can break anytime and is likely
to give rise to chaos and fighting among the constituents of the alliance.
Several groups have been cobbled together to create a loose alliance called
the National Transitional Council (NTC) to spearhead the movement, which has
been recognized by the international community as a legitimate government of
Libya. The constituents of the NTC have diverse interests and priorities and
it is less likely that they would remain in the alliance for a long time.

In the past, Gaddafi was seen as a dictator. There is no shade of doubt
that Gaddafi is a notorious dictator of 21st century. But the way the
external forces openly attacked in the name of support to the rebels is
being viewed as an imperialist aggression and interference in Libya. This
has changed the public mood in Libya and ordinary Libyans may see Gaddafi as
a patriotic leader. As the alliance is not likely to last long and civil war
may prolongue, western force in collaboration with the some Arab countries
may intervene in Libya to control its oil and other resources in the same
manner as they have done in Afghanistan and Iraq. The mood of the people in
Libya is, thus, changing fast within such a short period. The euphoria is
slowly vanishing so early even before the mission was completely achieved.

The NTC is set to form its transitional government in Libya with rebel
leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil as the head of the interim government. But
situation is already slipping out of hands of Libyan people. The western
countries and their stooges are poised to take over Libya's rein. Although
they want democracy and freedom, Libyans by no means are in favor of the
rule of foreign stooges. Now the more fierce battle is likely to begin
against imperialists who are scrambling to control Libya's oil and other
natural resources. The way external forces are already competing to grab the
resources of Libya indicates the situation that there would be war not only
between the Libyan people and imperialists but also among the external
forces.

The euphoria that had been prevalent in Libyan streets is now turning into
despair marked by doubt, confusion and accusations. The case of Libya is the
direct intervention from the western countries. The confused and
contradictory reports from Libyan capital indicate that what we saw in the
last six months was not the end but only the beginning of the battle. Libya
is likely to witness a protracted civil war as Gaddafi has vowed to continue
war against imperialist.

The NATO was mandated to take action in Libya to protect the innocent lives.
But more innocent people were killed in NATO bombings than the number of
people killed during the war between the rebels and Gaddafi's troops. NATO
planes had attacked over 4,000 targets in Libya. These targets were not only
military, but included civilian areas. Some people even describe the NATO
bombing as more relentless and brutal than Gaddafi's suppression. More than
1,300 people were killed in NATO attacks in Tripoli alone. There are, thus,
speculations that Libya could be another Afghanistan or Iraq which would see
a protracted conflict and could become a breeding ground for international
terrorism.

Libya's case should serve an important lesson for Nepal in the present
critical juncture. Nepal is also in transition. Still the situation is
volatile from which external forces are trying to take advantage. Although
Nepal does not possess significant natural resources, it is becoming
strategically vital for international powers because of its location. Nepal
is a bridge between not only world's two big economies and military
powers-China and India-but also between East Asia and South Asia. Although
magnitude is different, the nature and character of the external
interference and meddling is identical in Libya and Nepal. In Libya, western
powers have used the growing dissent of the people as their instrument to
interfere and control over Libya's oil and natural resources. In the same
manner, India and some western countries are trying to utilize Nepal's
strategic vitality and importance for their national interest. However,
Nepal's political parties are either ignorant of this fact or assisting the
expansionist force deliberately. If this trend continues, Nepal may, one
day, turn into another Afghanistan or Iraq. It is high time that all
patriotic forces get united and foil the expansionist and hegemonic design,
which alone can keep our national independence and territorial integrity
intact.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Can Jayanta Prasad make difference in Nepal-India ties?

Yuba Nath Lamsal

Sometimes, an individual makes a big difference. This is more in diplomacy.
By diplomacy we generally mean a tool and approach to achieve foreign policy
goals. Traditionally foreign policy is defined as an extension of domestic
policy. But it may not always be true because domestic policy of a
particular country may change with the change of government or person in
power. Foreign policy is something that does not change frequently with the
change of the government and person in power. It may be more appropriate to
define foreign policy as the approach and strategy to serve the national
interest.

Foreign policy is and should, thus, be guided by national interest. A
country's policy and approaches may vary with different countries depending
upon the nature of the relationship. Accordingly, priorities differ with
different countries. Economic, trade, strategic, political and cultural
issues have direct bearing on the conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy
with different countries. Diplomacy is, thus, conducted in a way which may
help achieve the foreign policy goals and serve the national interests.

Nepal's foreign policy has remained static and diplomacy in a state of
moribund. Diplomacy should be dynamic, which changes depending upon the
changed international situation. But the goal of foreign policy is always
one and uniformed. Nepal's foreign policy goal is to maintain its
independent status. The conduct of diplomacy of Nepal is, thus, guided by
survival strategy. This is a reason why Nepal's diplomacy is basically
neighbor-centric.

Being immediate neighbors, China and India occupy special place in the
conduct of Nepal's foreign policy and diplomacy. Nepal's relationship with
these two neighbors is multi-faceted encompassing political, cultural,
economic and strategic nature and sphere. As a small country between these
two big powers, Nepal has a greater challenge to maintain its independence
from political, economic, strategic and cultural standpoint. In other words,
the success of Nepal's diplomacy and foreign policy lies with its survival
strategy and keeping away from the direct influence and domination from any
of these two powers.

Theoretically, Nepal maintained its independence throughout its history even
though the entire South Asia came under British colonial rule. In practical
sense, Nepal was indirectly reduced to semi-colonial state by the British
especially after the Anglo-Nepal War that ended with signing of the Sugauli
Treaty in 1816. The 1814-1816 Anglo-Nepal war proved to be a disaster and
national humiliation for Nepal on Nepal by British colonial power. As a
result, Nepal not only lost a sizable territory but its national expansion
campaign also came to permanent halt.

Since then Nepal's foreign policy has remained India centric. The
geo-economic and geo-strategic compulsion also played vital role in shaping
Nepal's foreign policy. Although Nepal is surrounded by India and China, the
difficult Himalayan terrain often obstructed Nepal's economic and trade
expansion and activities with the northern neighbor, which made Nepal
dependent on India for trade and transit. New Delhi has, thus, been trying
to exploit this compulsion of Nepal.

By virtue of Nepal's geo-economic compulsion, India has tried to keep Nepal
within its security umbrella and safe and ensured market for Indian goods.
However, things have changed recently as China has already constructed its
high-speed rail way in Lhasa connecting with the rest of China. Beijing is
soon extending this railway link up to border with Nepal. This is going to
provide a tremendous opportunity for Nepal's trade and economic activities
which would significantly reduce over dependence on India. However, the
interlocutors of Nepal's foreign policy formulation do not seem to have
given an iota of thought towards this. As a result, our foreign policy
continues to be guided by traditional and outdated concept of over relying
on India.

Nepal is a small country and does not have other clout and resources to
influence the international community. Its only tool to have its presence
felt in the international arena is effective and mature diplomacy. However,
Nepal has glaringly lacked in this front in recent years especially after
the political change in 1990. Although Nepal's diplomacy was not as
effective as it should have been even prior to the 1990 political change,
the conduct of diplomacy was slightly better than what it is today. Nepal's
role was appreciable in the United Nations and several other international
forums in the past due to its active diplomacy. Recognizing, perhaps, this
role, Nepal was elected to Security Council as a non-permanent member twice
in the period of 20 years. But Nepal's role has hardly been felt in the
United Nations and other international forums in recent years.

The other aspect that needs to be mentioned when it comes to Nepal foreign
policy is the 'Zone of Peace Proposal', which had been supported by 116
countries in the world including China, United States and several other
major international powers. Support of 116 countries was a major diplomatic
achievement. However, the proposal was dumped soon after the 1990 political
change, ostensibly under pressure from India. India dubbed this proposal a
move of Nepal to come out of India's domination.

Now Nepal's diplomacy is so weak that Nepali diplomats hardly shape our
policy. Instead the foreign missions in Nepal shape our diplomacy abroad.
When it comes to the relationship and diplomacy with India and China or the
United States, our diplomats in New Delhi, Beijing and Washington do not
make decisions on bilateral issues but Indian, Chinese and US ambassadors in
Kathmandu set the agenda.

Despite this, Nepal does not have problem with many of the countries
including China and the United States. As a neighbor that shares a long
border, China has definitely its stake and interest in Nepal. However,
Beijing has never been over reactive and provocative but pursued quiet
diplomacy in dealing with Nepal. China has never publicly castigated Nepal
even though Beijing may not have been happy on certain matters especially
Nepal's poor handling of Tibet issue. China has pursued the policy of mutual
consultation and cooperation in dealing with the security matters with
Nepal.

But the issues are more complicated with our southern neighbor India. Like
China, India, too, has its interest and concerns in Nepal which both the
countries can settle in mutual consultation. But India's approach and
attitude is quiet different which is often not compatible with diplomatic
norms and neighborly spirit. As a result, Nepalese people are always
susceptible to India's attitude and intention. The last couple of years have
been more tumultuous in the bilateral relationship between Nepal and India.
Nepal-India relations saw rock bottom during the period of Rakesh Sood as
India's ambassador to Nepal. Sood's working style and behavior was not
compatible with diplomatic norms and rules which created a kind of popular
resentment and contributed to increased anti-India feelings in Nepal. He
was greeted with some humiliating remarks and actions including showing
black flag against him and hurling shoes at him. The South Block (Foreign
Ministry of India) knew well that Sood's undiplomatic activities and
behavior contributed to the growth of anti-India feelings in Nepal and at
one point contemplated to call back Sood and send someone else to Kathmandu
to restore India's image. The decision to call Sood back and appoint Jayanta
Prasad as new ambassador of Nepal was made in December last year, six months
ahead of his term was to expire. But a section in India's Foreign Ministry
lobbied for Sood's continuity until his term expired. This lobby argued that
recalling Sood would give a negative message. Moreover, Jayanta Prasad was
also not very much interested to take up the assignment in Nepal because of
the complicated nature of bilateral relations and Nepal's critical
situation. Jayanta Prasad is a kind of person, who is soft-spoken and
believes in quiet and persuasive diplomacy rather than coercive one. He is a
career diplomat who often shuns controversy and coercion. This was partly
responsible for the delay in his appointment as ambassador to Nepal and
lengthened Sood's term.

There is marked differences in the approaches and style between Sood and
Prasad. Sood possessed more hawkish and bossy attitude and style who often
tried to dictate. Sood's tenure as ambassador in Nepal created much uproar
and controversy. As a result, anti-Indian sentiment and feelings grew more
than ever. Sood, because of mishandling of affairs, failed in his job. Many
Nepali felt that India's intervention was more naked and blatant during
Sood's period. In other words, Sood was a diplomatic disaster for India in
the history of Nepal-India relations.

Although there is no fundamental shift in India's Nepal policy, different
impression has been created about India in Nepal since Jayanta Prasad
arrived at Kathmandu. This is mainly because of his approaches and working
style. His arrival coincides with the formation of a new coalition
government headed by Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai. When he arrived,
the process of government formation in Nepal was underway. There had been
different speculations in Nepali political circle. The speculations were
based on the activities of his predecessor Rakesh Sood, who directly
interfered in Nepali political affairs. He used money and muscle power and
even threatened some of the lawmakers. But Jayanta Prasad maintained a low
profile and kept himself away from this type of activities. India has its
permanent policy on Nepal which every ambassador is entitled to implement.
As an ambassador, Jayanta Prasad cannot go against his country's policy and
he would definitely work to implement India's policy. But Prasad
implemented it by successfully and shrewdly avoiding any kind of controversy
and criticism. From this point of view, Jayanta Prasad's tenure would be
better than that of Rakesh Sood so far as the bilateral relations between
Nepal and India are concerned.

It is true that India has multiple interests in Nepal ranging from security,
economic and political interest. Of them security and economic interests are
of more vital importance. But Nepal also has its own concern and complaints
when it comes to the relationship with India. Nepali population is very
sensitive and susceptible to India because of New Delhi's highhandedness and
hawkish policy. Being close neighbors, both the countries must understand
the sensitivity of one another. This has to be on reciprocal basis. Nepal
knows India's sensitivity and concerns but it wants similar approach from
New Delhi. India must understand that Nepal is a sovereign country which is
free to take any decision taking its national interest into account. When
Nepal takes any decision to protect its national interest, New Delhi should
not interpret it as anti-Indianism. India would thus need to depart from the
old colonial hangover and begin afresh to build Nepal-India relations on the
basis of mutual equality. India should understand that Nepal and Nepalese
people want friends and not masters. As long as India becomes Nepal's
genuine friend, everything will be alright. Problem starts only when India
tries to be a master. Perhaps, the new Indian ambassador knows it well and
acts sincerely to dispel apprehension of Nepali people about India.

Can Dr Baburam Bhattarai Deliver?

Yuba Nath Lamsal

A new government headed by Maoist ideologue Dr Baburam Bhattarai is at work,
which has taken some new initiatives to revive the hope of the people. The
peace process that started five years ago is in a crossroad. The fate of the
peace process is uncertain because none is sure that the political process
that began five years ago would arrive at a meaningful conclusion in near
future. However, the formation of the Bhattarai-led coalition government has
revived the hope and given impression that the peace process now would be
expedited and concluded at the earliest.

When the peace process started, there was a competition among parties and
leaders to claim its ownership and take its credit. As the situation got
complicated, the parties have given up their ownership of the peace process.

The 12-point agreement that was reached between the alliance of seven
parliamentary parties and the Maoists was the starting point of the peace
process. The peace process is, thus, the brainchild of the parliamentary
parties and the revolutionary force. In the seven-party alliance were the
Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and other fringe parties. The ownership of the
peace process lies on both parliamentary parties and the Maoists and
responsibility to conclude the peace process equally lies on them.

All the existing political forces are the beneficiary of the political and
peace process initiated five years ago. The only looser is the royalist
force that had opposed the new political process right from the beginning.
When the peace process began, monarchy was in power that ruled with iron
fist denying the people with their basic democratic rights and freedom. The
seven party alliance which used to advocate constitutional monarchy was
forced to enter into an agreement with the Maoists against the monarchy. One
of the key points of the 12-point agreement was the abolition of monarchy,
which was practically implemented after the election to the Constituent
Assembly. The monarchy was critical of the 12-point agreement and the peace
process. The monarchical forces had billed the deal between the
parliamentary parties and the Maoists and the peace process as an unholy
alliance. But the unfolding developments exhibited the fact that those who
opposed the peace process ultimately perished. The abolition of monarchy can
be analyzed and understood against this background.

The abolition of monarchy brought about a new sense of elation and euphoria
among the people. There had been widespread expectations among the general
mass that the republican set up would herald a new era in which peace would
be institutionalized, political stability ensured and people's life
uplifted. However, nothing significant has, so far, been achieved even in
five years after the peace process began and three years since the monarchy
was abolished.

The declaration of republican set up is an important achievement in Nepal's
political history. People for the first time in Nepal's history have turned
into sovereign citizens from the subjects of the king. Monarchy was the
symbol and patron of feudalism in Nepal and its abolition was a historic
necessity. Monarchy was abolished in Nepal more than 200 years after the
American War of Independence and French Revolution. The American War of
Independence liberated the United States from the British colony and
established a republican set up, which is the first republican system of
government in the world. The American War of Independence was followed by
the French Revolution that brought about a new wave of intellectual
consciousness and renaissance in the world. The American war of
Independence was a source of inspiration for national liberations all over
the world, whereas the French Revolution, which began with the cardinal
slogan of ' liberty equality and fraternity', inspired revolutionary people
for radical change all over the world. Although the United States was the
first republican system in the world, the French Revolution was the real
driving force for republican democracy and freedom in the world.

Nepal is the youngest republic in the world. Currently we are in the process
of institutionalizing the achievements obtained in the April Movement of
2006 or Jana Angolan II. We must seriously analyze why the Jana Angolan II
succeeded in 19 days which could not be done in three years. After the
Gyanendra's takeover, the seven parties went to street protesting against
king's absolute rule. However, the protests had no impact for almost three
years and the king continued his absolute regime in an adamant manner. But
the movement suddenly picked momentum after the 12-point agreement was
reached and the Maoists joined it. The Maoists have, thus, a major role in
the movement and political change in 2006 and thereafter. On this basis,
credit should go to the Maoists' armed insurgency and their mobilization of
the people for the political change we have witnessed.

In fact, the politics of Nepal has been revolving around the agenda of the
Maoists since 2006. The Jana Angolan II had four main agenda. Those four
agendas were: election to the Constituent Assembly, abolition of monarchy,
federalism and reinstatement of parliament. The Constituent Assembly
election, federalism and abolition of monarchy were Maoist agenda whereas
the reinstatement of parliament was the agenda of the Nepali Congress. The
Congress agenda was addressed immediately after the success of the Jana
Angolan II as parliament was reinstated. The Maoist agenda, too, were
addressed by successfully conducting the Constituent Assembly election and
declaring Nepal as a republic.

In addition to these main agendas, the Maoists pushed for several other
issues including the proportionate electoral system, secularism and
inclusive democracy. The Maoists had demanded fully proportionate system of
election. However, agreement was reached for a mixed system. Secularism,
too, was implemented as the Interim Constitution has declared Nepal as a
secular state. Most of these agendas have already been implemented and some
are in the process of being implemented. But the issue concerning federalism
is yet to be settled. Although all parties have agreed for federal structure
of the country, they have deferred on its modality, number and structure.

The writing of the new constitution is the first priority at present which
would formally institutionalize the achievements and agendas of the Jana
Angolan II. It is known to all that federalism, secularism, proportionate
electoral system, inclusive and representative democracy and republican set
up are the Maoist agenda. Other parties accepted these Maoist agendas for
peace and democracy.

Political contradictions and deadlock cropped up after the Constituent
Assembly election. The emergence of the Maoists as the largest party in the
Constituent Assembly election was a shock to the Nepali Congress and the
CPN-UML. They had earlier believed that the Maoists would trail in the
distant third position in the election. The arm-chair analysts and pollsters
had predicted the CPN-UML to be the largest and the Nepali Congress the
second largest force in the Constituent Assembly. But the elections results
completely changed the political situation.

The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML were suddenly taken a back. Previously
the parties had thought that they would lead the peace and constitution
writing process and accordingly deal the newer agenda in a way that would
suit the interest and policy of the parties. The election results gave the
Congress and the UML the impression that the entire political process was
slipping out of their hand. The people mandated the Maoists to play the lead
role constitution writing and peace e process, which was hardly digested by
other parties. The problem and deadlock, thus, began right after the
Constituent Assembly election, which continues even today.

In the period of three years since the Constituent Assembly election was
held, we saw four different governments with identical rhetoric but
different approaches and working style. Against this background, Dr Baburam
Bhattarai is in the wheel of the government. There are high expectations of
the people on Dr Bhattarai's leadership. Bhattarai is a politician of a
high intellect and vision. It is expected that the once stagnated
constitution writing and peace process would be brought back into tract and
concluded at the earliest. Prime Minister Bhattarai has promised to complete
this process and accorded due priority to constitution and peace. But his
real test lies on how he can handle the fragile coalition and deal with the
adamant and susceptible opposition. These tasks cannot be accomplished
without the support of the opposition parties especially the Nepali
Congress. Dr Bhattarai's ability and public image is, thus, in the crucial
test.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Change of guards in Japan

Yuba Nath Lamsal

Yoshiko Noda, former finance minister, has been elected new Prime Minister
of Japan to replace Naoto Kan, who stepped down from the post acknowledging
his failure to tackle some of the challenges his country faced over the last
one year. Noda won the leadership of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan
(DPJ) on Monday and was formally installed by Diet, parliament, on Tuesday
as the 60th prime minister and the third since the DPJ won election in
September 2009.

Noda's predecessor Naoto Kan, who resigned on August 26 amidst widespread
public pressure and protest against his government's mishandling of several
issues ranging from economic downturn and joblessness to the nuclear
disaster and reconstruction in the areas where earthquake and tsunami hit
hard last year. Kan's period is best known as the biggest failure on the
part of the government in handling the issues directly related to the
people. There had already been disgruntlement in his own party about his
ability to handle the crises that Japan was facing. Some of his detractors
within his own DPJ party had been pressing for leadership change right after
Kan assumed the office of Japan's 59th prime minister.

Although he had successfully scuttled the pressure and threat to revolt from
his detractors, his mishandling of public affairs specially after last
year's worst earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster was a
political disaster for the DPJ. Sensing the simmering plan to revolt against
his leadership, Kan had promised to step down in last April. However, this
announcement was seen by his opponents within DPJ as a ploy to placate the
dissent in the party and prolong his rule. He was finally forced to step
down following an open challenge and threat from a powerful faction within
the DPJ to support even an opposition-sponsored non-confidence motion in
parliament.

The DPJ is composed of several factions and groups. Kan and Noda belong to
rival camps within the DPJ. In contrast to Kan's policy, Noda is known as
an advocate of austerity measures and broader unity in the fractured DPJ to
enable the party to deal with a national crisis of a strong yen and
deflation. He wants speedy disaster recovery and reconstruction especially
in areas devastated by earthquake and tsunami and also Fukushima nuclear
disaster.

Noda takes over a party deeply divided on fundamental economic and foreign
policy issues and also takes the rein of the country that is beset with
several problems and challenges. However, he seems to be more determined and
mature to deal with these challenges and put Japan back on the global
spotlight and competitive edge.

In the race for the leadership of the party, Noda defeated trade minister
Banri Kaieda, the favored candidate of party strongman Ichiro Ozawa, by a
big margin. Noda secured 215 votes against 177 his rival got in the second
round of voting that took place last Monday. In the first round of election,
there were five candidates in the fray but none got the majority. As per the
party statute, if no candidate gets clear cut majority in the first round of
election, the second round of voting is to be held between the two
candidates who get the highest and second highest votes. In the first round
of election, Kaieda was in the forefront with 143 votes against 102 of Noda.
In the second round the equation in the party changed and Noda emerged
victorious with support from other factions.

The second round of election reflects the fierce rivalry and competition
among different factions in the DPJ. Some tend to bill this election as a
showdown between conservatives and liberals which have sharp differences on
approaches to bring Japan's economic growth back on tract, tackle properly
the deepening global financial crisis, balance Japan's relations with China
and US. The growing strategic and power rivalry between China and USA
especially in the South China Sea has also impacted Japan's policy. China is
Japan's largest economic partner and the US is its longstanding strategic
ally. Japan's future depends more on balancing its relations between these
two global powers.

Foreign and trade policies often play important role in Japan's politics.
Until recently, Japan had monopoly in the trade in East Asia. With China
emerging as a global economic power, China has become an important trade
partner of Japan. Backed by economic growth, China is also slowly started
its assertiveness in global affairs and accordingly is strengthening its
military power mainly in its neighborhood. Recently China has reinforced its
presence in South China Sea which is its legitimate claim. Since the World
War II, the United States has taken the responsibility of security of Japan
and some East Asian countries. United States has so far maintaining its
monopoly in East Asia and the Pacific region in terms of military presence.
Backed by aircraft careers in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and South China Sea,
the presence of the United States had been unchallengeable. Even during the
heydays of Soviet Union, the US military presence in East Asia and the
Pacific could not be challenged. However, China has not only modernized its
military but also has increased in the South China Sea, which is its own
neighborhood and legitimate domain. This has been taken as a security threat
by the United States. Japan has been caught in the crossfire in the rivalry
between China and the United States. The recent change of guards in the
Japanese governments is, therefore, seen as a reflection of US-China power
rivalry in Asia-Pacific region.

Kan's faction is known for its pro-China policies and closer relationship
with Beijing. It wants stimulus package to lift Japan's economy from slump.
On these promises, DPJ got landslide victory in the general election in 2009
ending a half-century's monopoly over power of Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP). Kan played important role in the victory of DPJ in 2009 parliamentary
election because Kan's key ally, Yukio Hatoyama, was the leader of the
party. After the election Hatoyama was elected as the prime minister of
Japan. Hatoyama's premiership lasted less than a year because his promises
to expand social spending came into direct conflict with growing global
demands for austerity to deal with the worsening debt crisis. Despite
playing important role in ensuring party's victory, Hatoyama had to step
down facilitating ground for Kan to rise to the party's leadership and
country's premiership. However, Kan's premiership, too, was short-lived as
he had to step down within a year under stiff protest and pressure from his
own party colleagues.

The new prime minister of Japan is pro-US and wants stronger and closer
economic and strategic relations with the United States than China. Kan
faction favors closer relations with China which had provoked Washington
seeking Kan's ouster from the seat of power in Tokyo. Kan's resignation and
Noda's rise to power in Japan's politics is being billed as a victory of
conservatives and defeat liberals in DPJ. From external and international
perspective, United States emerged winner in Tokyo's power tussle in Tokyo
while Beijing lost its friend in Japan's political power.

As a pro-American, Noda is likely to follow Washington's aggressive policy
against China. He is highly critical of Beijing's assertive role in the
Asia-Pacific region especially in the South China Sea. Tensions have already
run high in the East Asian region with China increasing its presence in
South China Sea challenging the long monopoly of the United States. In
addition, Beijing's claim over some tiny islands has also provoked some
other East Asian coastal countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and
Vietnam alike. Backed by Washington some East Asian countries have staked
counter maritime claim in the South China Sea, which has been a source of
tension in the region.

Back home, Noda wants removal of pacifist clause in the constitution that
bars Japan to use military in the settlement of international disputes and
protect Japan's national interest abroad. Noda advocates Japan's pro-active
role in the international politics for which Japan needs a strong army.
Against this background, rise of hawkish prime minister in Japan would
definitely contribute to escalate tension between US and

Noda's rise to power in Japan and his remarks have sent mixed signals to
the world. While Washington is pleased with the decision, it has sent a
different message to Beijing and Seoul. While Seoul has watched the
developments in Tokyo with caution, Beijing has reacted saying "The new
Japanese government needs to start to appreciate the undisputed fact that a
deeply-troubled China-Japan relationship and dire mistrust would by no means
serve the interests of either side, not to mention that of the region and
the world as a whole."

Whatever the rhetoric, Noda's term as prime minister is also likely to be as
brief as that of his two predecessors. The DPJ is a divided house and the
power struggle among factions in the party would not let Noda to continue as
prime minister for a long time. Moreover, the DPJ has been unpopular among
ordinary Japanese people due to its inability to tackle several key issues
and problems that Japan has been confronted with in recent years. At best
Noda would continue as prime minister until September 2012 when the party's
regular leadership election is scheduled to take place.

So far as Nepal is concerned, the change of government in Japan will have no
impact in the bilateral relations. Japan is a key donor and development
partner of Nepal and there would not be any significant change in the Nepal
policy. As Nepal, too, has a new government, it expects more meaningful ties
and increased cooperation with Japan under Noda's leadership in the years
ahead.

Democracy And Dictatorship

Yuba Nath Lamsal

Parties are the key players in a multi-party democracy and they are the ones that run the government and maintain checks and balances. Checks and balances are necessary in democracy that make the government more responsible and ensure better functioning of the democratic policy. The absence of effective mechanism for checks and balances may give rise to dictatorship that would ultimately exterminate democratic polity.

In the name of multi-party democracy, Nepal's political parties are merely jockeying for power and scrambling to impose their own type of dictatorship on the people. The rhetoric, activities and behavior of Nepal's existing political parties indicate that they lack minimum political culture which is required for strengthening and upholding democratic values and practice. If we look at the history of democratic movement in Nepal, parties have played crucial role in establishing democracy in the country. In the absence of parties and their leadership, the democratic movements would not have been successful. However, at the same time, the parties, to certain extent, are responsible for the ruin of democratic system.

The seed of democratic movement was sown during the Rana regime which had summarily denied basic rights and freedom of the people. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi-led independent movement in India against the British colonial power and success of the Chinese Revolution under the leadership of Mao Zedong in China, some young Nepali revolutionaries spearheaded the movement organizing people both at home and in India to establish democracy in Nepal. Within a few years, the revolution picked up momentum and overthrew the oligarchic Rana regime thereby heralding a new era of democracy and freedom in Nepal in 1951. This was a historic achievement that brought about a new euphoria and enthusiasm in the people at large. However, this polity could not last more than a decade and the king trampled the democratic system and imposed his own style of dictatorship called the ' Panchayat system'.

The peaceful coup was staged by the king. But the ground was created by the political parties themselves. The absence of agreement on common minimum programmes among the parties emboldened and encouraged the king to take such a harsh and undemocratic move that kept the people of Nepal under dark days of dictatorship for almost three decades. During the period of one decade from 1951 to 1960, the parties kept on squabbling and got involved in mud-slinging against one another instead of working on the common agenda of strengthening democracy in Nepal. The king took maximum advantage from the power-hungry and rent-seeking mentality of the parties and leaders. The monarchy pitted one party against another under ' divide and rule' policy. As the Nepali Congress was the largest and strongest force of that time in Nepal, the sole objective of the monarchy was to weaken the Congress and alianate from the people in which other fringe parties played active role.

The parties committed blunder one after another right from the beginning. In the first place, it was a blunder on the part of parties and revolutionaries to trust the monarchy and ally with it. The Nepali Congress regarded the monarchy as the messiah of democracy. This was the flawed concept of the Nepali Congress. It failed to understand that the monarchy is in itself an anti-democratic institution and it can never be democratic. Nowhere in the world has the monarchy been supportive of democracy. Although monarchies exist in countries like Britain, Japan and some European countries, they are in the ceremonial form with no executive rights. In these countries, the monarchy was given the ceremonial position by the people. The monarchies accepted ceremonial role not by their choice but under pressure. In other countries where monarchies exist especially in the Middle East, they are dictatorial both in nature and substance and people have been denied with their fundamental rights and freedom. The political parties failed to understand this reality and trusted the monarchy which came to bite when it consolidated its position.

In fact, monarchy had been reduced to a titular position by Ranas. But the parties revived the monarchy in 1951. Ranas and Shaha (monarchy) belonged to the same feudal class and had same culture. The parties agreed to overthrow one group of feudals (Ranas) and reinstate the other group of feudald (Shah) in the name of political change in 1951. There was, thus, no fundamental difference in both nature and character of Shaha and Ranas which was clearly seen after the monarchy was restored.

The monarchy had been abolished right after the then king Tribhuvan fled the country. The parties should have declared Nepal as a republican country right after the success of the movement. Puspa Lal Shrestha, who is the founder of the Communist Party of Nepal, had raised this issue and demanded a republican set up right that time. However, Puspa Lal's call was billed as an extremist idea and was not duly heard. The Nepali Congress which led the 1951 anti-Rana movement considered monarchy as one of the two pillars of democracy in Nepal. Nepali Congress continued with this policy until 2005.

The analysis of Nepali Congress on multi-party system and monarchy has been proved to be flawed. In the first place, monarchy can never be the foundation and pillar of democracy. Secondly, parliamentary system alone is not the basis of a democratic system and society. There are different modes of democracy in the world. There is also a great debate on the very definition of democracy. Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as the 'government of the people, for the people and by the people'. If so, do the multi-party or parliamentary democracy and the government formed under this system represent all the people? No certainly not. It represents a section of the people who vote for it. It does not represent the people who do not vote for it. The other flaw is the electoral system that creates the condition in which the minority rules the majority. When any party secures less than 50 per cent votes cast, it is still a minority party although it may be declared the winner. In the election held in 1991, Nepali Congress secured only 37 percent of the total votes cast but it was declared the winner and Congress formed the majority government. The party which was rejected by 63 per cent voters was declared winner and formed the governemnt. This is a fundamental flaw of parliamentaryd emocracy. In such a situation, how can the government claim to have represented.

There is a rival school of thought that does not subscribe to the western definition of democracy. It describes the western model of democracy as a bourgeoisie system. The socialists or the communists describe the multi-party system as a piece in the showcase that is only to be seen not for use. According to them, the bourgeoisie democracy is the dictatorship of a small group of people upon the large mass of poor and downtrodden people. The poor people, who constitute the majority, have neither access to politics and other resources nor can they exercise the power they are entitled to. The participation in election once in five year does not allow participation of the people in the political and democratic process.

The advocates of western capitalist democracy and champions of socialism/communism accuse one another of being supportive of dictatorship. The capitalists dub communism or socialism as the dictatorial system as it does not hold periodic election and allow people to participate in free election. But the communists and socialists call the capitalist democracy as the dictatorship of minority over the majority. They are of the view that the handful of wealthy people and elites rule over the greater majority of poor and downtrodden people. The Marxists are of the view that the real democracy is the communist or socialist system where poor, proletarian and working people rule over feudals, landlords, compradosr and petty bourgeoisies. In Marxist philosophy, the government is the dictatorship of one class over the other. This is both academic as well as political debate that has been raging for centuries ever since two sets of political system emerged in the world.

We are currently in the process of writing a new onstitution and deciding the model of political system. This debate has been more raging in Nepal at present. One thing is true that there is no single model of democracy in the world. All models of democracy have their virtues and vices and it would do well if we incorporate positive aspects of different models and make our political system flawless.