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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Revolution rhetoric of Nepal’s communists


Yuba Nath Lamsal
Recently, the national Congress of the Mohan Vaidya-led CPN-Maoist concluded with its resolve to pursue and advance the revolution, which it claims to have been left in the crossroad by the leadership of the UCPN-Maoist in general and its principal leader Prachanda in particular. The party which was created after the split from the mother party—the UCPN-Maoist—did everything to justify the split. But this new party seems not to have so far been successful in justifying for what it was constituted.
Similarly, the seventh national congress of the UCPN-Maoist is going to begin in Hetauda on February 2, 2013, which is also expected to come up with a new policies and programmes of Nepali revolution. The seventh congress of the UCPN-Maoist is being held in 21 years. Thus, the party has described the seventh congress as the historic one. The congress is surely going to be a historic congress because the party is expected to chart out a different course for completing its version of revolution. The party adopted the political line of protracted people’s war to achieve its immediate goal of new democratic revolution and accordingly launched a guerilla war, which achieved partial success. The People’s War reached the stage of strategic equilibrium and also prepared the ground for the final strategic offence to seize state power. However, changes in the domestic situation as well as in the international objective conditions necessitated the party to adjust its policies and programs relating to the revolution. As a consequence, the party took a tactical shift in what is called Chunbang meeting in which it decided to take ahead simultaneously the armed insurgency as well as the peace talks for strategic advance. The present political process including the peace process, constitution writing, constituent assembly election and the issues concerning the abolition of monarchy, declaration of republic, secularism and inclusive and proportionate representation are all the results of the policy shift taken by the UCPN-Maoist in the Chunbang meeting. Although peace process is still at the cross road, the above mentioned achievements are definitely historic ones which need to be formally institutionalized. But a faction led by Mohan Vaidya had opposed the entire process initiated after the Chunbang meeting including the tactics of peace and constitution. The disgruntled faction staged open protest against the party’s decision on peace and constitution, which ultimately led to the vertical split in the party.
Revolution is the buzzword that the communists often take up both in public and private. So is with Nepali communists. The Vaidya faction, which later came to be formally reorganized as the CPN-Maoist, not only denounced the mother party—UCPN-Maoist— to have abandoned the path of revolution but also declared itself as the torchbearer and vanguard of new democratic revolution. This is how this new party has attempted to justify the split. In the recently held national congress, the CPN-Maoist has adopted the political line of popular insurrection and also hinted that it may take up arms if its peaceful course was obstructed. In this way, it has presented ambiguous programme, which is neither peaceful nor armed revolution. It has, one the one hand, tried to justify the armed people’s war like the one Mao Zedong applied in China prior to the success of Chinese Revolution in 1949. The CPN-Maoist has also said that it would pursue the policy to complete the ongoing political process concerning peace and constitution, on the other. Similarly, it is not clear whether peaceful approach is its strategy or tactics. The popular insurrection is the model applied by V I Lenin during the October Revolution. In the first place, it has to be thoroughly debated and analyzed whether the objective conditions of Russia in 1918 and the present objective conditions of Nepal are identical. Lenin’s model was armed insurrection. But the CPN-Maoist has not spelled out whether its model of insurrection was armed or peaceful except the hint that it may take up arms in future.
If the CPN-Maoist has to be different from the UCPN-Maoist, it has to adopt the political line of protracted people’s war but not the popular revolt. The political line of popular revolt or insurrection does not make it different from the UCPN-Maoist because the UCPN-M, too, has the declared political line of ‘popular revolt if its peace and constitution policy’ was obstructed. The political report that the CPN-Maoist has adopted in its congress does not justify the split from the UCPN-Maoist.
So far as the UCPN-Maoist is concerned, it has dismissed the charges labeled by the CPN-Maoist against it and said that it has never abandoned the path of revolution. Instead, it claims to have taken an innovative and unique course to further develop and complete the revolution through which it intends to establish new democratic system and ultimately achieve socialism and communism.
Revolution, establishment of new democratic system and elimination of feudal and semi-colonized condition of Nepal have been the core objective of the foundation of the communist party in Nepal. Over the period of six decades, the communist movement has been badly fragmented. Ideology and revolution are primary justification of all communist parties and groups that came into existence in Nepal. However, as the time passes, these parties slowly degenerate into revisionism, reformism and rightist road. There is a divided version and opinion on the development of communist movement. There is even debate and division in the opinion on the date of the birth of the Communist Party of Nepal. But there is no divided opinion on the purpose for which the Communist Party of Nepal was born.
 Puspa Lal founded the Communist Party of Nepal in 1949 as a vanguard organization of the poor, proletariats and all other exploited and oppressed lot of the people of Nepal. The fundamental purpose and objective of the founding of the Communist Party of Nepal was to spearhead the revolution under the leadership of the poor and proletariats initially to liberate Nepal from repressive Rana Oligarchy and ultimately launch a revolution to completely eliminate all forms of internal and external domination and exploitation thereby establishing a new democratic rule in Nepal. Right from its birth, the communist party fell into controversy not on ideology but on issue concerning leadership, which gave birth to polemics of different hues and color and ultimately led the split. This polemics and split not only weakened the entire movement but also dashed the people’s hope for revolution, radical change and liberation from semi-feudal and semi-colonized conditions. The communist party had rightly analyzed the condition of Nepal as being the feudal and semi-colonized. At that time, feudalism had it’s hey days with Ranas being the principal ruler of Nepal and Shah monarchy in the ceremonial role.  The Rana Oligarchic regime represented feudalism in Nepal whereas the British domination and their interference and dictation in our internal affairs had reduced Nepal into semi-colonized status. Thus, the communists had clearly pointed the contradiction of Nepalese people with feudalism within the country and British imperialists outside. The Ranas had the backing of British rulers and it was necessary to fight British imperialism to sustain and succeed revolution in Nepal with the objective of overthrowing the Ranas.
The communist movement as of now represents the same legacy. Out of the mother party, several new communist groups were born and some of them also vanished with the march of time. Although there are more than a dozen communist parties and groups exist in Nepal, there are only three fundamental trends in Nepal which are represented by the UCPN-Maoist, CPN-Maoist and CPN-UML.  These three groups claim to be the genuine representative of the communist movement in Nepal. The CPN-UML has already abandoned revolution and it has totally adopted western capitalist model of liberal democracy. Although it continues to have communist, Marxist and Leninist tag in its name, it, in practice, has nothing to be called communist or Marxist and Leninist. Given the sharp contrast in name and the programmes, it would do well for the CPN-UML to change either its name or programme in order to maintain compatibility between the name and programmes. There is a remote chance for the CPN-UML to change its programme, the change of name would be better to call itself as Nepal Social Democratic Party rather than the communist party. Given the newer trends and developments in the party, the CPN-UML is not likely to represent any trend of communist movement in Nepal and it would be a part of liberal democratic trend. The CPN-Maoist claims to be the revolutionary but it tends to be more dogmatic and appears to be more hybrid type of communist party. One likes it or not the UCPN-Maoist is the mainstream trend of the communist movement in Nepal which intends to pursue the revolutionary path but with unique and innovative method depending upon Nepal’s own objective situation and peculiarities.
Marxism is a science of organizing for revolution. But Nepal’s Marxists seem to be self-centrist and are least concerned about the revolution, change and fundamental purpose of revolution and the movement. Power seems to have been the basic concern and priority for these parties. If the parties and leaders are genuinely concerned about the revolution and fundamental changes in the country’s base and superstructure, the revolutionaries in all parties need to unite to further advance the revolution.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Korean Peninsula: Myths and misgivings


Yuba Nath Lamsal
North Korea, as it is called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by Pyongyang, has constantly been on the spotlight of international diplomacy and media. Despite the end of the Cold War in the world, worse Cold War persists in the Korean Peninsula, with danger of war always looming large in the region.
Korean peninsula remains the only remnant of the Cold War. Korea continues to remain divided despite long desire of the Koreans living in both the north and south of the 38th parallel (the boundary between the North and South Korea) for reunification. North Korea is a communist state whereas South Korea, also known as Republic of Korea or ROK, is a capitalist country. With the tearing down of Berlin Wall and unification of Germany, a new enthusiasm and hope had been raised in Korean peninsula regarding reunification of the two Koreas.
Once Korea used to be a strong empire with its clout and influence spreading far and wide in the entire East Asia. In the late 16th century, Korea suffered from internal power struggle and rebellions, which caused decline in the power and prowess of Korean empire.  This paved the way for foreign invasions and occupation. Imperial Japan forced Korea, which had been weakened by internal wars and power rivalry between different power groups, to sign a treaty which was virtually annexed to Japan. Although this treaty was later declared null and void, Korea remained under Japanese rule for a long time. Since then, Korean people launched resistance and rebellions against foreign occupiers and invaders. Even now Korea is heavily influenced by external powers, which has kept the Korean peninsula divided.
Koran people are resilient and this nature kept the long popular resistance alive. In its long history, Korea saw many ups and downs and twists and turns. At times, came Russia and Japan onto a headlong collision and conflict over Korean issue. This phenomenon continued until 1945 when Korea was liberated. Although Korea was liberated from the foreign occupiers, yet another misfortune fell upon the Korean people because the international powers divided Korea into two parts, which still continues as a dark chapter of history.  In August 1945, the 38th Parallel was drawn and established as the boundary between the two Koreas.  Since then, the border between the two Koreas continues to see heightened tension and conflict often marked by exchange of gunfire.
The issue of reunification of Korea has surfaced more prominently than ever before. In recent years, this issue has gained more currency. However, the international powers are busy in keeping Korean Peninsula divided and tense. The United States has taken the responsibility of security of South Korea whereas the North is capable of defending by itself. As the threat of war has always loomed large in the Korean Peninsula, North Korea has invested more on defence— the being described by Western countries as a militarization of Korea.
The issue concerning the nuclear arms developed by North Korea has diverted the entire issue. While the neighborhood is less concerned, the United States has raised this issue with more hue and cry describing nuclear arms of North Korea as a threat to the global security. The arms including nuclear weapons are definitely a threat to human being. It is the desire and dream of people in the world that all traditional as well as nuclear weapons be eliminated.  However, arms race and nuclearization is a continued phenomenon in the world. Thus, why there is so many hue and cries over the North Korea’s nuclear program?  If the world is to be made free of nuclear weapons, it should begin from the countries which have larger arsenal nuclear arms. But it is not only North Korea’s nuclear weapons but all countries that have nuclear weapons need to be destroyed. But this is just an issue to divert all the other key issues that need to be settled and resolved.
Now Washington and Pyongyang are in the state of face off. While the United States has taken the North Korea’s nuclear program as a threat to global security, Pyongyang has repeatedly claimed that its nuclear program was for self-defence. North Korea says it was “forced into the missile/bomb deterrent because of US hostility”. Korean Peninsula is one of the heavily militarized zones in the world as the United States has its military base and strong military presence in South Korea, which may have forced the North to go nuclear. There is a great demand to denuclearize the entire Korean Peninsula. If Korean peninsula is to be made free from tension, militarization and nuclearization, foreign power should stop poking nose in Korean issue and leave Korean Peninsula. This would be the only way to reduce tension in the Korean peninsula and pave the way for ultimate reunification of Korea, peace, prosperity and stability of Korean Peninsula.
Korean Peninsula is a divided house and divided family. Until recently, both the Korea treated one another as their arch enemies which is the making of external powers that took benefit from the partition of Korea and hostility between the Korean people. But some recent developments have suggested that both Koreas are slowly mending their fences and re-establishing their relations reviving the hope for Korean reunification. North Korea was more enthusiastic and always pushed for Korean reunification. Pyongyang has long been offering an olive broach to the South for peaceful resolution of all problems of Korean Peninsula.
South Korea was not as forthcoming and positive as the North on the issue of reunification of Korea. But situation appears to be changing and both Koreas are trying to normalize their relations. This process began more particularly after Kim Dae-jung was elected as president of South Korea. Since then the official exchange of contact was established between the North and the South. Kim Dae Jung, under the Sunshine Policy, visited Pyongyang, which began a new process in reducing tension in the Korean Peninsula. As it was not only between the two Koreas, the issue had to be dealt with the United States because of its presence in South Korea, a senior leader of North Korea Jo Myong-rok visited Washington in 2000 and discussed ways to resolve the Korean crisis. A joint communiqué had been issued in Washington at the end of Jo’s visit, in which Washington and Pyongyang expressed their resolve to “fundamentally improve” relations and “formally end the Korean War by replacing the 1953 Armistice Agreement with permanent peace arrangements. In response, the then US Secretary of State Madeline Albright visited Pyongyang giving continuity to the process for peace in Korean Peninsula.  But the change of leadership in the White House slammed brake on the entire process. President Clinton’s term ended and Hawkish George Bush came to power in Washington, who abruptly ended the peace process in Korea and declared North Korea as a member of ‘Axis of Evil’.
The Sunshine Policy continued even after Kim Dae Jung. A summit meeting of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Ill was held in 2007 paving way to a flurry of new economic and security initiatives.  But this process came to a screeching halt soon after conservative President Lee Myung-bak was elected as president of South Korea in 2008. Since then no new initiative has been taken to resolve the pending issues between the North and South Korea.
Now both North and South Korea have new and more energetic leadership. It is now expected that the political and peace process would be expedited in order to unite the long-divided Korean families and ultimately re-unifying the Koreas.  In a New Year speech, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un has emphatically raised the issue of peace in Korean Peninsula and called for the reunification of Korea, which reinforces the commitment, on his part, for peace, stability and cooperation between the two Koreas in general and also the need for building relationship with the neighbors and other countries on a newer basis. In his speech, the North Korean leader said “ My New Year greetings also go to our compatriots in the south and abroad who are ringing in the new year with yearning and expectations for the reunification and prosperity of the nation and the world's progressive peoples and our foreign friends who love justice and peace”.
Despite the strong desire of the Korean people for peace, security and cooperation, the Korean Peninsula continues to remain divided, tense and under fear. North Korea seems to be willing to carry ahead the process started long ago for peace, cooperation and re-unification of Koreas. Now it is up to the South and the international powers especially the United States to take this process ahead so that Korean Peninsula as well as the entire Asia and the Pacific region would see a new peace, prosperity and cooperation. It is time that external forces stop meddling in Korean affairs and allow the Korean people to settle their problem on their own. The external forces can only play the role of facilitators. The reunification of Korea is a must and it is not only Korean people but the entire world may be eager to see that Korean re-unification becomes a reality.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Asia growing as global strategic hotspot


Yuba Nath Lamsal

With the dawn of the year 2013, the world has much to be optimistic about better future. At the same time the international trends and traits make the humanity more nervous. The world saw a gloomy economic performance in 2012 creating upheavals and upsurge in the world and infuriating the people especially belonging to the middle and lower class. However, there are indications that the time of great difficulty is heading towards ease, although we cannot be fully optimistic for total recovery of the troubled economy. The Year 2013 seems to be a year of normalcy in some sector and more hilarious for many. In the economic front, days ahead seem to be little more comfortable while the political front is expected to continue to remain volatile and unpredictable.

The United States is on the recovery path from its worst economic recession as newer statistics suggest that the world’s largest economy is back on journey towards a good health. As the performance of American economy will have its own repercussion in the global economic system, a better American economy is a sign of good health of the entire global economy. China, the second largest economy, is growing satisfactory, albeit in a little slower pace than had been earlier expected. Germany, another economic power, is already bouncing back making the Euro Zone a little more comfortable and cheerful. Japan, which had been in the longest recession, is also returning to normalcy and is on positive growth path, which has already injected a moral and psychological blood and boost to the ailing business and industrial community both in Japan and in the world.

While the world is slowly recuperating from the worst economic ill health, other areas of concerns still seem to be gloomy, which is likely to deteriorate in the days ahead. The political unrests and popular resistance and upheavals are already on cards in different countries in the world. Be it Arab Spring or occupy movement in America and Europe or popular resistance against austerity in countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and even France are some of the new trends that provide greater optimism that there are chances of change in the present global political and economic system. The capitalism is being portrayed mainly by the Western powers and their lackeys in the developing world as a panacea for all the ills that the world is facing. The Western countries are pushing vigorously for capitalist system in the developing world as the best prescription to get rid of social, political and economic anomalies and malaises. In fact, capitalism itself and its economic and monetary prescriptions are the roots of all the problems and the crisis we have seen and faced in the present world. If we have to get rid of the multiple crises that the world is confronted with, we must seek an alternative to the capitalist system itself. The solution to the world’s present problems cannot be found from within the capitalist system and the present global order and a new and more human political, social and economic system and order are a must for which the people especially from the Third World must work in unison and in a collaborative and collective manner.
The resistance and liberation movements that we have seen in different forms and different manifestations in the world including the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movements are the expression of people’s utter dissatisfaction and a strong desire for change and different world order. But these movements have not succeeded to achieve the desirable goal of change for various reasons mainly in the absence of clear—cut goals, planning and vision as well as a determined leadership. As a result, the movements have either fizzled out or just become a tool of the imperialists, capitalists and rulings elites for mere regime changes. The cases of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia are evident of this miscarriage of revolution whereas the movement in other countries including Syria is also slowly fizzling out. The revolt in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt were definitely historic, which could have succeeded in bring about radical change, had there been a visionary and determined leadership.
The geo-politics determines the geo-strategic priority. The geo-strategic scenario in the world is also changing due to change in the geo-politics and geo-economic situation. The geo-politics and geo-economics are the determinant factors of the global security system. As geo-politics and geo-economic scenario is slowly shifting in the world, the global security scenario is also getting complicated and more vulnerable with global powers scrambling to have their domination and control in different parts of the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, a uni-polar word emerged with unchallenged domination of the US-led Western powers. But the emergence of China as economic and military power has changed the international political and strategic equation. Now the global power and security scenario has changed and keeps on changing. With China’s emergence as a global power, the West mainly the United States has felt a strong threat to its global domination. Accordingly, the United States has adopted a different strategy to contain China, for which it has already taken initiative to encircle China from all sides under its Asia Pivot policy, for which Washington is building strategic and military partnership with countries generally hostile to China. Washington’s strategic and military partnership with India and some other countries and the Pacific region can be analyzed against this background. As a result, Asia and the Pacific Region has become a global security and strategic hotspot.
 While Asia is in the top of the list of the global strategic hotspots, there are other regions, areas and countries which dominate the agenda of global security concern. Egypt is one of them.
Egypt has always been in the list of global strategic hotspots because of its location and historical legacy. Egypt is an ancient civilization and a center of Africa and the Arab World. The Egyptian revolution had been watched very keenly by the global community as developments in Egypt would definitely have a far-reaching impact in the politics and security of the Middle East and Africa. In the aftermath of the revolution and regime change, the world has watched the developments and policies to be adopted by the new regime in Egypt even more keenly and cautiously. Despite being an Islamist country, majority of Egyptian population is liberal, although not secular. Recent trends have shown that Islamism is gaining grounds among the masses in Egypt, too, because the revolution failed to achieve its fundamental goals of systemic change instead of cosmetic reform or regime change. But there is a positive side that the government and political players are against Islamization of politics. As the situation in the Middle East continues to be volatile, a stable and peaceful Egypt will play key role in the overall peace in the Middle East. Thus, the eyes of all are now focused on the developments of Egypt, on the one hand, international powers are trying to have their strong foothold in this country so that they can have their presence both in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, the relations between the Arab countries and Israel are often thorny and it is only Egypt that has been playing the role of mediating between Israel and Palestine. Syria is another country that has strategic significance in the Middle East. A strong wave of popular upsurge has already taken place in Syria. As rebel forces have gained ground and taken control over large swath of territory, the Assad regime seems to be in deep crisis although it continues to hold on to power. If the popular unrest further builds up, Syrian current regime is sure to crumble. Syria is an important country in the Middle East and any kinds of political developments would send ripple to the entire Arab world. Similarly, Iran is yet another country that has huge strategic significance. Iran is likely to be another zone of conflict as people’s anger is slowly building up against the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Teheran. The course of politics in the Middle East would be determined by the political developments in Iran and Syria. The matter of more serious concern for the international community at present is the nuclear ambition and programme of Iran as the world worries that there would be a greater threat of nuclear weapons to go into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists if Iran develops nuclear arms. Thus, Iran is the focal point of the world from strategic point of view.
Due to Afghanistan problem and Kashmir conflict, Pakistan is another country of global strategic significance. The fate of war on terror that the United States and the NATO troops are fighting in Afghanistan will depend on the role and cooperation of Pakistan.
This shows that the global strategic focus is on Asia. It has already been projected that the 21st century would belong to Asia, which means Asia would be the epicenter of global power. The fate and future of the world largely depends upon how Asia develops and stabilizes. This is a matter of both opportunity and anxiety. It is opportunity in the sense that our continent and the neighborhood would be the center of global power. It can also be the matter of anxiety because the global center of power would also bring global rivalry among the great powers. In such a situation, there can always be possibility for a small, poor and weak country like Nepal to be caught in the crossfire of strategic rivalry between the international powers. But we should always take the developments positively as our neighbors would be great powers, which is a matter of pride for us.

 

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Nepali Parties Required To Make Compromise For Fresh Polls



Yuba Nath Lamsal
Election is the soul of democracy. The types and models of election determine the level of quality of democracy. Although election is not the only determinant, election is, definitely, the most important and number one constituent of democratic polity. We cannot imagine a democratic system in the absence of free and fair election and free and fair polls cannot be expected in authoritarian systems. Under dictatorship elections are held but they are engineered to ensure that the ruling despot are declared winner just to hoodwink the international community.
Election is, thus, an important basis of democracy as it ensures people’s participation in governance. In early Athenian democracy, people of the city used to gather in one place and decide all issues concerning their governance. This type of system is called the direct democracy. With the march of time, the societies became complicated and population grew so rapidly that direct democracy became unmanageable and virtually impossible. This gave birth to representative or electoral democracy, which is in vogue worldwide. In the modern democracy, all the citizens cannot run the administration and only their representatives can do it for them. In order to choose such representatives, elections are a must. In other words, this system is called indirect democracy, in which the representatives are chosen through free and fair election to govern in the name of citizens. In this way, people maintain control over the government.
Multi-party system is taken as a synonym of democracy. But not all multi-party system may necessarily be democracy. But multi-party system creates ground for competition and lays foundation for a competitive political system, which is also an important component of democracy. In multi-party democracy, elections are fought generally on party basis, though some candidates fight elections as independent candidates. The party which gets a majority in the legislature forms the government. If the government, during its tenure, does not work for the welfare of the people, it can be changed in the next elections. This is a general principle and accepted rule in modern democracy. However, it is not always applied in practical politics. We have seen in many countries that multi-party democracy have also given rise to notorious dictators and led to collapse of the democratic system. In Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, at one time, was the most popular leader and was elected to power with overwhelming majority. But he soon turned into a tyrant, who was to be overthrown only by popular revolt. Similar case is with Germany’s Adolf Hitler, who was most popular of his time and accordingly rose to power. As he went to power, he became the most notorious fascist icon in the world. Thus, system alone does not ensure democracy but good intention and democratic culture of the leaders, conscious and careful watch of the people and perfect check and balance make democracy functional in a true sense.
In Nepal, too, many elections were held in the past. But not all elections were democratic. Even during Panchyat regime, elections used to be held. As parties had been banned and elections held on individual basis, such elections failed to get democratic legitimacy. Even after the collapse of the Panchayat regime in the wake of popular upheaval in 1990,  multi-party system but not perfect system was restored, it too failed to address the fundamental issues concerning genuine democracy and popular expectations,  which gave ground to another upsurge and revolt. The electoral system adopted after 1990 was flawed as representation of ethnic, lingual and cultural minorities and oppressed class was not duly accommodated and given due space and place in the 1990 constitution. This is an example how multi-party political system alone does not ensure genuine democracy.
In order to have genuine democracy, people of all sections and sectors must be duly represented. Electoral system should be designed in such a way that it represents all sections, communities and minorities in a proportionate manner so that all people, irrespective of their caste, creed, language, sex and color have due representation in the political process and decision making of the state. These factors had never been given due consideration in Nepal until 2008.  The necessity of proportionate representation was realized after the political system ushered in by 1990 political movement, too, failed.  One of the agendas of the Jana Andolan II was, thus, the proportionate electoral system to ensure inclusive democracy, which formally incorporated in the Interim Constitution, 2006. Accordingly, election to the Constituent Assembly was held which ensured representation of all people of Nepal including the hitherto unrepresented or under represented ones.
The Constituent Assembly had been mandated to write and deliver a constitution in two years, which would formally institutionalize the achievements of Jana Andolan II and ushered in a new, peaceful and prosperous political era in Nepal. But the optimism and expectations of the people were once again shattered as the Constituent Assembly failed to give a new constitution to the country even in the period of four years. This was quite unfortunate for the country, people and the new found republican democracy.
The failure of the Constituent Assembly to deliver the constitution not only betrayed the people but also delayed and derailed the political process that was initiated in 2005 after the signing of the 12-point agreement and the Comprehensive Peace Accord. The inability to manage the crisis and the lack of far-sightedness and vision on the part of the political parties are responsible for this utter failure. The political process has again moved back to the stage of 2008 when there had been uncertainty about the election for Constituent Assembly. All the political exercises and resources spent for the purpose of the election have now been wasted. The same process is going to start anew.
Still there is no certainty about the future course of Nepal’s politics. But political parties, which are the key players, have not been able to manage the crisis and come up with a concrete roadmap for the future course. All political parties have agreed that there is no alternative to fresh election. However, no party seems to be prepared to go to election immediately. The reason is obvious that parties are not certain of their position after the election. Instead the entire focus is on the leadership of the government, which indicates that parties have no faith in free and fair election as well as fair democratic competition but simply want to manipulate the polling process to ensure their better position in the election.
If it had not been the case, there should not be such a bargain for the leadership of the government. The present coalition government headed by Dr Baburam Bhattarai had declared the fresh election scheduled for October 2012 but could not be held in the absence of cooperation from the opposition parties mainly the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. Some election related laws have to be amended for holding the fresh election. But the efforts of the government to amend the election related laws and constitutional provisions were blocked by the opposition parties. This has made the possibility of the election uncertain. The attitude of the opposition parties has demonstrated that we are already heading towards the politics of negation. Political parties are not willing to accept the existence and leadership of other parties in the next government. As long as this situation continues, national consensus and national unity government are not possible. If political parties are really honest and want to rescue the country from the present whirlpool of crisis, they must make compromise and be willing to make some sacrifices. Since the opposition parties tend to negate the ruling coalition, it is quite logical that the ruling coalition, too, may not accept the leadership of the opposition parties in future. This would only prolongue the stalemate, which is by no means in the interest of the country and the people.
It is true that there no alternative to election. It is also true that election is not possible in the absence of consensus. The consensus can only be built when the parties are willing to compromise, make sacrifices and ready to accept the existence and position of all political forces of the country. So far as the leadership of the government is concerned, the largest party must get the opportunity whereas other parties should be given dignified space in the cabinet depending upon their strength in the erstwhile Constituent Assembly. This will alone bring about the amicable solution and create ground for early election. If parties continue to adopt the arrogant attitude and do not accept the ground reality of politics, they are doomed to be dumped in the trash of history, which would also be disastrous for the country, people and democracy.