Nepal Today

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Election complete in Nepal
By Bhola B Rana
Kathmandu, 20 April: The election process ended Saturday for the 601-member constitution assembly election 2008 without CPN (Maoist) gaining a majority and vote counting still continuing.
Final results of Nepal’s first assembly election to draft a constitution should be in by the week; the elected assembly members will replace the Girija Prasad Koirala government installed in April 2006 through street protests and foreign pressures. The assembly will also will replace the interim parliament reinstated by the king through a ‘ political decision’ by domestic and international pressure.
Nepal, has for the first time, an elected body ion nine years.
Maoists are the largest party in the assembly and won’t muster an overall majority in the assembly that has the difficult task to draft a constitution in 30 months.
With results still trickling in, Maoists have bagged 118 of the 233 seats declared so far with seven more results to be announced.
Chitra Bahadur KC, Chairman of Rashtriya Janamorcha Nepal, was elected from Baglung and Pushpa Bhusal of Nepali Congress from Argakanchi.
Congress is the second largest party with 36 and CPN-UML with 32 seats; Madesh Janaadhikar Forum (MJF), Tarai Madesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP) and Nepal Sadbavana Party (NSP) have won 27, nine and four seats each.
Nepal Majdoor Kishan Party (NMKP), Janamorcha Nepal and independents have bagged two seats each.
Only seven of 54 parties that registered for elections won.
Maoists also lead in vote counting in indirect elections collecting 2.7 million of the 9.1 million votes tallied so far.
Congress and CPN-UML have collected 1.98 and 1.91 million votes so far.
The SPAM is dead with the election even as they tried to impose themselves on the people and the nation through an undemocratic constitutional provision to maintain the coalition after the vote. Premier Koirala even said the coalition should continue for another decade.
The SPAM is also dead because the country not only has elected members but NSP (D) wasn’t elected.
The tarai is now represented by Madesh Janaadhikar Forum (MJF), Tarai Madesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP) and Nepal Sadbavana Party (NSP-Mohoto) with 27, nine and four seats respectively in the assembly.
The parties that jointly and successfully launched a strike pushing regional demands ahead of elections weren’t represented in the government that conducted elections and the next government can’t run the country or draft an acceptable constitution ignoring them.
Unity between the trio was short-lived as they failed to workout an electoral adjustment but they will be the largest coalition in the assembly with 38 members so far—Congress has only 36 and the CPN-UML 32.
Age, sickness and humiliating defeat will finally see the political eclipse of octogenarian Koirala; Sher Bahadur Deuba, elected from two constituencies in the frontrunner to takeover the Congress Party leadership with the decimation of the Koirala family and coterie in elections; challenger Ram Chandra Paudel survived.
Not a single member of RPP, RPP-Nepal and Rashtriya Janasakti Party (RJP), conservative parties with panchayat roots, was elected. But they will represented in the assembly through indirectly elected members to be nominated by the parties.
Because such members cannot be defeated candidates of assembly elections, Pashupati SJB Rana, Kamal Thapa and Surya Bahadur Thapa will be out the assembly. Girija will be in because he didn’t contest elections.
Regional demands will now dominate the national scene and the domination of politics by Congress will be over since its vote bank in a tarai has been smashed; Congress will never recover it when the MJF, TMLP and NSP reinforce their gain.
The three parties achieved what the NSP funded and led by Gajendra Naraian Singh never achieved since 1990.

Place of honour for king; soft towards USA: Prachanda

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 April: An elected Chairman Prachanda has begun talking soft about the king and USA.
Prachanda said there will be an ‘honourable’ place for the king if he voluntarily gives way for a republic.
‘The people will keep yesterday’s king in an honourable position while at the same time it will be easier to create an environment for an honourable place if the king respects democratic sentiments and voluntarily clears the way for a republic,” Prachanda said in newsmagazine Nepal Sunday.
The sentiment reflects the difficulties in implementing the republican agenda of the Maoists after election victory; victory has mellowed Maoists as they make final preparations to seize Singha Durbar.
Maoists want the king to clear the way for them; such an act will ‘create an unique record’, according to Prachanda.
The Maoist chief said such a proposal is being discussed and will possibly be taken up with the king personally.
Why are Maoists pushing such a proposal?
This was being proposed for the ‘country’s independence and people’s unity” but ‘not to retain monarchy in some form or other but to save the country’s independence with an easy outlet, ’ Prachanda said in reply to a question the proposal may be rejected by the king.
According to Prachanda’s and Maoist scheme, the first meeting of the assembly will not vote or discuss a republic.
‘It will only be declared or implemented,” Prachanda said.
Baburam Bhattarai told Kantipur TV earlier Saturday talked of undefined ‘cultural rights and privy purse’ for the king is the king leaves voluntarily.
‘USA is changing its terrorist policy,” Prachanda said adding he based this assumption of a meetings with Jimmy Carter and an unidentified American delegation.
Prachanda said the party preparing to assume power may no longer call USA imperialists.
‘But will continue to oppose in our debate on what is imperialism and what it is,” he said in reply to a question.


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