Nepalese leaders fail to draft constitution, another CA on November 22
PM confident of support from President
KATHMANDU: In his televised address to the nation at zero hours on Sunday night, Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai gave the most emotional address ever and announced November 22 as the fresh date for CA reelection.
While asking apologies from the government’s part for not completing the job of promulgating the new constitution, he blamed regressive and status quoits forces for conspiring agains the new constitution. Adding to it he asked general public to give progressive forces to provide clear majority in the new CA election to secure federalism in the new constitution.
Addressing from his official residence in Baluwatar, the PM said CA elections was the one of the options given to the government by the Supreme Courts recent verdict and claimed that the cabinet decided to go for it, thinking it was in the best interest of the Nepalese people.
He accused implicitly traditional parliamentarian political parties, particularly Nepali Congress and CPN UML, of obliterating the drafting of the new constitution and the provision of progressive federalism and accused them of providing lip services to the agenda so far, just as a formality. He called on the public to provide pro federal forces their support in the next CA elections, so that they could provide federalism to the nation.
Stating that it was a time of great sadness the PM called on all political parties to participate in the new CA elections and test their popularity of their agenda.
“Though we have been unsuccessful now, the Nepali people will adjugde us appropriately. I don’t think that it is appropriate to blame anybody because we don’t have a situation to move ahead without a political agreement.”
Without mentioning any name, he, however, charged that status quoist forces were reluctant to embrace the people’s aspiration for change and building a republican, federal and progressive state and constitution. “But we sensed their intention to dissolve the Constituent Assembly in one way or the other and drop the people’s achievements by buying time, preventing any agreement and procedure.”
He claimed that the coalition government of his party and United Democratic Madhesi Front formed nine months ago worked keeping peace process and constitution-drafting on focus, and the UCPN-Maoist unilaterally took a big risk to complete the army integration which was the most crucial part of peace process.
He claimed that his party and coalition was dejected by the vigor shown by other parties in resolving issues related to the constitution writing process, even after they took ‘high risk in concluding the peace process, unilaterally.
On the occasion the PM also ruled out clash of powers between the PM and president, claiming that their authority and scope of work were sharply divided and clearly defined and expected cooperation from the President and political parties in conducting the new CA elections.
CA crashes, Next election on November 22
After a four-year futile exercise to draft a new constitution for the ‘New Nepal’ the Constituent Assembly (CA), made a crash landing on May 27 and at the same time declared a new date of its resurrection on November 22.
After weeks of hard talks between political parties to resolve disputed issues in the new constitution, CA crashed after parties failed to resolve differences seen in the restructuring of the state; especially the model of federalism to be adopted in the New Nepal.
Decision to dissolve the CA and go for new election of the government stems from the Supreme Court’s earlier directive to opt between reelection of CA, opting for referendum or for opting for appropriate legal provisions.
Lead political parties who had failed to resolve disputes in the constitution writing process, however also failed in resolving appropriate solution to the dissolution of the CA. After both- Nepali Congress and CPN UML- denied to support government’s proposal to declare emergency, the government declared the selection of the CA. Both NC and UML, along with other fringe parties have however trashed this proposal also.
Before the Prime Minister made addressed the nation, he had called an emergency cabinet meeting and proposed for reelection of the CA. However the proposal was trashed by UML General Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokhrel and some other ministers affiliated with the fringe parties.
Brushing aside their differences, the PM however dashed off to the President and informed him about the cabinet’s decision.
Political parties had resorted to discussions on finding alternatives to be opted after the CA is dissolved after discussions through out Sunday failed to bear fruits in resolving disputes. But, the Maoists, who head the government, had opted for reelection after parties failed to reach consensus in selecting any of the options provided to them, by the Interim Constitution and the Supreme Court’s earlier verdict.
4 year old CA failed to achieve 60 year long expectations
Nepalese people have been striving hard for nearly six decades for the Constituent Assembly thinking that it would draft a pro-people constitution. But the expectations drained after political parties failed to draft the new constitution after a four year long journey together.
Though political parties had resolved almost all issues of the new constitution, it was federalism that sabotaged the expectations of the general Nepalese to get a new constitution that promised property to the nation and end of the transition.
“We could not save the Constituent Assembly, as basis to draft the new constitution could not be garnered,” Maoist Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal said after exiting the three party and Madheshi Front joint meeting, that failed to garner consensus on disputed issues.
In their recent understandings, lead political parties had agreed to promulgate the new constitution by May 27 and it was agreed that a national consensus government agreed to form in Nepali Congress leadership would promulgate the new constitution.
However, both Congress and UML engaged themselves in the political game to upset the cart instead of resolving disputed issues of the constitution and thereby trashed the expectations of the general Nepalese people to get the new constitution on the promised date. Their recent meetings and discussions centered on toppling the government and had engaged in collecting signatures to pull down Bhattarai, instead of pressing for resolving disputed issues of the constitution.
But their efforts to pull down PM Bhattarai by positing unconstitutional rights upon President Ram Baran Yadav failed largely after the Baidya faction of the Maoist denied their support to their bid.
UML also out of government
Though Congress had exited the government some days earlier expressing its discontent over seeking another extension of the CA, UML also exited the government on Sunday night over its displeasure of the reelection of the CA.
Maoist and the CA
After a ten year long bloody civil war, the Maoists had entered peaceful politics and aligned for CA on November 22, 2005. Before the CA was dissolved the Maoists had largest stake in the CA.
The Baidya faction of the Maoists had earlier stressed on unitary-ethnic identity as the primary basis for the new federal states to be formed. The meeting held at Buddhanagar in the capital had stressed on promulgating a pro-people constitution.
A press release issued by the General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thap and Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya had claimed that the national and international forces were hell bent on ‘aborting’ the CA.
However in their statement they had made it clear that the reelection of the CA was the best alternative that could be adopted to draft a constitution that would address the demands of the public.
CA did not sit for the last time, also
Though lawmakers, who had minimum role in the CA for the past four years, on Sunday they had protested against the past tradition during whole of Sunday demanding the start of the CA session. But CA Chairman Subash Nembang trampled their request and let the CA dissolve without calling the last session of the CA.
CA Chairman Nembang did not call the CA sitting and even did not respond to journalist calls through out the day, till when the CA was alive on Sunday.
What could be worst when it was known that the lawmakers could also not the reason on which their leaders did not reach consensus and the reason for which the CA was dissolved. Their eyes remained fixed on the screen of the TV set and ears on the FM station dying hard to hear the good news of agreement between lead political parties, so that they could sit in the CA for the last time and do the job, for which they were elected or selected. But the time did never came. Lawmakers turned into ordinary people without knowing what had conspired in the senior leader meeting and exited the CA as ordinary people after taking services and money of general public and with their job undone and spending 19 billions of rupees.