Nepal Today

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: Parliamentary election for prime minister to held 3 February on majority vote in three phases after parties couldn’t elect a consensus candidate to succeed Madhav Kumar Nepal who continues in office even after resigning 30 June 2010.
Speaker Subash Nemwang Thursday read out a communication from President Dr Ram Baran Yadav who said the vote will be conducted by majority vote under article 38(2) of the interim constitution.
The president left for a 10-dayofficial visit of India Thursday before leaving.
The election will be held in three phases, according to schedule worked out by parliament’s business advisory committee.
Candidates will register their nominations 2 February.
The candidacies of all contestants will be put to vote in rounds of voting.
If no candidate garners a majority, second round voting will be conduced 5 February.
If no lawmaker collects again collects a majority, voting in the 599-member parliament will between two candidates collecting the most votes 6 February.
No lawmaker can now abstain in voting or remain neutral as in the past, according to an amended parliamentary procedure for election of a government head.
The procedure was amended after 16 rounds of inconclusive election.
Parliament adjourned Thursday until 2 February.


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: Vice-president Parmananda Jha has been entrusted presidential responsibility in the absence of President Dr.Ram Baran Yadav who began a 10-day India visit Thursday, according to an announcement of the president’s official residence.
The responsibilities were handed lover amid a prolonged political crisis at home.
Prime Minster Madhav Kumar Nepal held political discussions with the president before his departure.


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: Caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal Thursday reshuffled his caretaker government exchanging portfolios of ministers of his party UML with defectors of TMLP.
Industry Minister Mahendra Prasad Yadav was appointed minister for general administration while Ravindra Shrestha was transferred to the industry ministry.
Dan Bahadur Kurmi has been transferred to the local development ministry as state ministerwhile Jit Bahadur Darji has been appointed state minister for industry.
After the premier didn’t accept resignations of ministers from four ministers of TMLP, they returned to government Thursday to strengthen what has been called a left/democratic alliance.
The reshuffle comes before election for a prime minister next week.
TMLP ministers resigned after Nepal didn’t sack four TMLP cabinet and junior ministers who defected and formed a new party.
The party had demanded the resignations.
TMLP charged UML, leading the shaky coalition government, engineered the defections and split.


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: The Big Three will meet again Saturday after an inconclusive meeting of Maoists, NC and UML Thursday at a hotel in the capital.
The parties held bilateral and trilateral talks on assembling a consensus government and integration of former Maoist combatants.
Discussions centered mainly around integration of 19,000 plus Maoist former combatants in state security agencies.
Modalities, norms of integration and the numbers to be assimilated were discussed.
NC and UML have been insisting a Maoist leadership of government can’t be accepted until completion of the peace process even after a ceremonial transfer Saturday of the chain of command and control of the former fighters from the party to a special committee headed by the prime minister.
“It won’t be difficult to accept leadership of Maoists,”: NC leader Dr.
Ram Sharan Mahat said after an atmosphere is created.
He called for ‘creating an atmosphere ‘ for a solution search’.
UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel demanded from Maoists a ‘clear position’ on the peace process and constitution drafting.
‘Differences weren’t many informal and informal talks,” Maoist military leader Barsha Man Pun said admitted admitting the dialogue was inconclusive.
Maoists presented proposals for integration in groups ad even formation of a separate in the Nepal Army on equal basis, according to Pun


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: Puman Kumari Singh, a girl high school student was stabbed to death by another student, Shanta Chaudhary, as she was cycling to school Thursday at Chandranighapur in Siraha.
Chaudhary has been arrested by police.
One person was injured in police firing when police fired and lobbed teargas shells to irate crowd that attempted to attack Chaudhary’s house and disrupted movement of vehicles on a highway.


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse), the country’s sole stock exchange, remained closed for the third consecutive day on the third and last day on weekly trading Thursday.
The exchange was expected to resume normal business Thursday following negotiations between striking employees and Nepse management in the presence of government officials Wednesday.
Protestors pressing nine demands said they didn’t receive written assurances their demands for increased salary and perks had been met.


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: Manang/Marshyangdhi and 3 Star Club will meet in the final Saturday in Pokhara of the Aha Gold Cup.
The winter will collect a prize money of Rs 200,000.
In the last semi-final, 3 Star defeated rival team by 1-0 in extended play time.


Kathmandu, 27 Jan.CPN-UML chairman Jhal Nath Khanal was stoic about the slap heard across the state, but the political class is drawing all manner of lessons. The people, for their part, are lionizing Devi Prasad Regmi for giving such force to their frustrations. In detention on a public-offense charge, he has seen a surge in moral and material support, Maila Baje writes in Nepali Netbook.
Khanal and his fellow politicos made Nepalis believe that they were the best people to take care of us. Or, at least, better than the rest. Enough people took to the streets in the spring of 2006 inspired by a nebulous vision of newness.
King Gyanendra had wanted a little over a year and half more to complete his agenda of handing over power to an elected government capable of building peace and stability. How many of the far more numerous Nepalis who had stayed home during those tumultuous 19 days did so because they refused to buy into a palpably contrived alliance between the mainstream parties and the Maoist rebels will never be known. But the people who did come out led their leaders, who had seemed ready to accept the first royal overture.
In a sense, our politicos are mere reflections of us, equipped with the same fantasies, fears and foibles. But there seems to be something more. For all the arrogance and indifference so famously attributed to them, it is hard not to admire the vicissitudes these individuals are capable of bearing. (Between Singha Darbar and Nakkhu, UML leader Pradeep Nepal once described his tribe as being precariously perched.)
It is hard to believe that even the seemingly most abominable specimen really entered public life with a malignant motive. Are they prone to aggrandizing themselves before others? More likely than not. But deliberately destroy the nation? Come on.
As any sovereign people, Nepalis are free to harbor expectations. But if a politician – to use that worn adage – promises to build a bridge where there is no river, the people cannot be expected to go far with a gullibility defense. When leaders who had long insisted that a constituent assembly would only open a Pandora’s Box came around to supporting the Maoists on that count just because of the assertiveness of one monarch, we surely could have asked them for at least two more good reasons.
Today the box continues to spew all kinds of things, with control slipping away from the ruling class. For them, prolonging the day of reckoning has become the measure of progress. Nepal Workers and Peasants Party chief Narayan Man Bijukchhe, who sees presidential rule as the only way out, insists the leadership does not want to say so openly for fear of admitting their collective failure. Surely even Bijukchhe – and his college pal, President Ram Baran Yadav –knows we cannot keep going on knocking the head of state’s doors every few years without expecting to inaugurate a new blame game.
As an individual, Devi Prasad had every right to be angry at this hopelessness. Not everybody has it in him or her to smack the leader of a major political party. But the cheerleading is getting scary. The national putrefaction is systemic, only feeding on the individual predilections and prejudices of leaders. In their collective wisdom, the people are expected to redeem them.
If the minister who slapped that government official or the legislator who slugged the finance minister is moving scot-free, the outrage should not be allowed to inaugurate an all-round slap fest, therapeutic though it might seem. There are enough of those outside our borders who want prove how failed we have become as a state. The least we could do is to avoid becoming a collective failure in spirit.

Hot-air balloon blasts quickly

Kathmandu, 27 Jan.: After creating a lot of hullabaloo, the jumbo-size 601-member Constituent Assembly missed its two-year deadline last summer for formulating a new Constitution. The very ones responsible for fixing the deadline arrogated for themselves the right to extend the deadline by another one year, promising to accomplish what they could not in the previous couple of years. Now they are talking of yet another extension, Trikal Vastavik writes in People’s Review.
Subhash Nemwang, who chairs the CA, cried hoarse day in and day out that the Constitution would be ready on time. However, he changed the tune and shifted the tongue a few months before the arrival of the deadline, saying that the task could be completed “if the major political parties cooperated”. In the process, he began to carry drastically less weight than previously. Some of his own party members at CPN (UML) have been critical of him.
An undertaking like the drafting of a Constitution, at a time when political leaders are promising everything to everyone inclusively and exclusively, the going is not going to be great. Some party leaders are already expressing their doubts over the Constitution-making task being able to meet the revised deadline. The late Laxman Aryal had declared that a Constitution could be drafted within 15 days. He did not mention that amendments to such Constitution could be effected within weeks after weeks. In the past two years, there has been an amendment to the Constitution every four months or so.
Little wonder then that the past has been pulverized, the present is being cheated in the name of transition where impunity rules and the future is rendered far worse than earlier suspected. Most worrisome is that there is little room for space for free, independent and extensive discussions in the cross-section of society to echo public voices and reflect their aspirations. Today, the country is heading towards the very direction that the major parties had vowed to avoid. Nepali had been promised restoration of law and order; revival of peace; and effective control of corruption. The actual product has been painfully different, and things are heading back to square one.
The much-touted secular, federal and republican nature and structure of the state of Nepal risks being grounded to a halt for all practical purposes, i.e. if the major parties (Maoists, Nepali Congress and UML) do not introduce a drastic change in their style of operation that reeks of constant scheming focused on sheer power.
Federalism, in practice, constitutes a combination of unity and diversity seeking to address issues raised in a country with deep-seated cultural, religious and linguistic differences. Although it pledges to main a harmonious balance between local autonomy and national unity, its record of maintaining equilibrium is mostly poor in developing countries.
Nepal’s 1990 Constitution, formulated by representatives of almost all the existing major political groups, was scrapped in the manner of Chengiz Khan’s marauding hordes that swept away everything on their path in the less civilized age. A non-elected parliament—it was “revived” by a monarch denigrated and demonized by the parties clamoring for an Interim Constitution—issued a dictat to its successor, but elected, parliament for abolishing monarchy and announcing the state as secular and federal. The unjustified and unseemly rush with which work was subsequently carried out opened a Pandora’s Box, whose repercussions were immediate and threatened to sustain for generations to come.
The method employed in announcing changes in the structure of political system simply to serve the personal prejudices of some individual politicians and extraneous interests sowed the seeds of discord. It was open invitation to chaos and prescription for creating a grave vacuum. This explains why constant compromise is sacrificed for the benefit of expediency. Militant outfits in the past four years have had an upper hand on numerous occasions, as impunity gained ground all over. The burden of the excessive baggage thus piled up is bound to take a heavy toll, sustaining as it does self-inflicted wound, fallacies and political paralysis.
Political scientists upholding pluralism recognize political parties as an essential instrument of democracy. The United States Constitution drafted by the Philadelphia Convention 225 years ago, when Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great was vigorously well into his national unification campaign in Nepal, is hailed as a model of draftsmanship, of linguistic elegance, of brevity and of high grade clarity. Envisaging unity into diversity of the nation, the 4,000-word document promoted, as defined by Abraham Lincoln, a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Nepal’s experiment takes a different course that brooks no decent discourse.
Federalism requires a democratic culture for success. Most countries do not have a federal system and many of those that went for it had to regret bitterly for taking the plunge without giving due thought to its pros and cons. Dr. Bhimarjun Acharya, a republican to the core, has raised a series of issues concerning federal structure that some INGOs are keen to bury under the weight of agenda pushed through the NGOs that they patronize so lavishly. A number of INGOs, investing billions of rupees, are sore with the most prominent constitutional expert in the country.
One, therefore, cannot effectively question the validity of RPP Nepal’s campaign that collected two million signatures in support of its proposal for a referendum on whether Nepal should be a federal republic and secular or a constitutional monarchical Hindu state.
In Nepal, we have charlatans who pretend to possess expertise on federalism and all such features that have succeeded in a few countries, failed in most countries that went for it and got rejected in most parts of the world. A few Tribhuvan University teachers, never known for taking regular classes, are going around wearing the tag of experts on federalism. One has only to go through the M.A. Political Science course of study for an indication on the extent of the so-called expertise the chaps have actually acquired on federalism.
But then all their sponsors and patrons want is a front for pushing dubious agendas through puppets that become pliant for a pocketful of dollars they could not dream of earning from their university jobs. This does not explain why the Central Department of Political Science, desperate for a decent number of student enrollment, has waived the earlier stipulation that only students with political science as a major at the Bachelor’s level, become eligible for the course and candidates with third division in M.A., too, can apply for Ph.D. study!


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