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Deadlock in Nepal to affect stability, growth

The political impasse in Nepal caused by the absence of a constitution and an elected parliament could affect the stability and economic development of this land-locked nation.
The parliament was dissolved on May 28 this year after the Constituent Assembly (CA) failed to meet its deadline, which was extended several times, to draft a constitution that would have been the basis for governance in Nepal.
The dissolution of the CA was largely due to the lack of consensus on the issue of federalism in drafting the new constitution.
The National Planning Commission (NPC), which is the economic advisory body in Nepal, has expressed serious doubts that it would be able to come up with an economic plan beyond 2012 due to the political uncertainties in the country.
As a consequence of the dissolution of the CA, there is now a squabble within Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoists (UCPN-M), with the hardline faction led by Mohan Baidya, and the so-called establishment faction led Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, who is now the caretaker prime minister.
The rift began after the November 1 agreement made by political parties last year which focused mostly on the integration of former combatants into the Nepal army and returning back properties which were seized by the Maoists during the war.
Although the issues are slowly being resolved with the integration taking place and properties being handed back to the rightful owners, not all sides are fully satisfied with the way things are picking up.
The split in the two factions have turned violent last June 30 when some party cadres were injured during a dispute over party properties.
Similarly, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) is also having some internal conflicts and losing its political influence.
On the other hand, the identity-based Madhesi parties and ethnic groups are also expanding their influence and further muddling the political situation in the country.
The issue on federalism, on whether to grant more autonomy to the various ethnic groups in Nepal, has been the main stumbling block to a consensus and unity among Nepali citizens.
Opposition parties, including the National Congress, UML, and Madhesi People’s Rights Forum have rejected calls by caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai for elections to members of the Constituent Assembly on November 22 this year.
They have also demanded the resignation of the caretaker prime minister, saying that it is necessary in order to achieve a national consensus.

Published Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2012 | 04:30 PM

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