Nepal Today

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BRITISH OFFICIAL SAYS LONDON DISAPPOINTED Kathmandu, 31 May: Simon Fraser, Permanent Under-Secretary at the British Foreign and the Commonwealth Office said Wednesday said London was ‘disappointed with this week’s developments with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai calling for new elections for constituent assembly (CA) 22 November. The CA was tenure ended automatically Sunday with the election announcement. “We are disappointed. I think many people are disappointed. At the end the agreement was not reached. That is a setback," Fraser told a news conference He was in Kathmandu for a two-day visit. "I hope it is not for the British government to suggest the way forward but I do hope the parties will come together and consider how they can salvage [the country from the present situation]," Fraser added. Nnnn NEPAL PLAYS INDIA IN U-19 ASIA CUP Kathmandu, 31 May:: Nepal plays India 23 June in the opening match of the U-19 Asia Cup cricket tournament in Kuala Lumpurm, Malaysia. The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) published the tournament’s tie-sheet Wednesday. Nepal is in Ggroup A along Malaysia, Pakistan and India The tournament is being held June 23 to July 1 in Kuala Lumpur. Nepal plays Malaysia in its second outing 25 June and Pakistan 26 June. gor Club. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Qatar and Sri Lanka are in Group B.. Top two teams of each group will qualify for the semifinals to take place 28 and 29 June. The final of the tournament will be played on 1 July. nnnn NC CHIEF TELLS LAWMAKERS TO RETURN TO VILLAGES Kathmandu, 31 May: Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala Wednesday directed ex-members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) to return to their respective constituencies and villages to make the party´s position on federalism clear to the people in view of fresh elections for the CA and to explain why the CA failed to promulgate a new constitution, Republica reports. Koirala issued the directive to the ex-CA members during a meeting on Wednesday, according to Nepali Congress leader Shekhar Koirala. At the meeting, the ex-CA members had asked Koirala about their role in the changed political context. Some ex-CA members also asked the party president to work for party unity. In response, Koirala asked them to exert similar pressure on party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. "Some members asked the president to keep the party house in order," said central committee member Gagan Thapa, "They asked him to resolve the problem within the party." Later, the party also held a meeting of its central committee members to discuss future strategy. At the meeting, the central committee members asked the party leadership to make the party´s position clear on the issue of ethnicity and the rights of different communities in the changed context, according to Thapa. They also stressed the need to dispel misconceptions spread by the Maoist party in regard to federalism and the dissolution of the CA. The Maoist party and the Madhesi alliance have blamed the NC and the CPN-UML for the dissolution of the CA without drafting a new constitution. Some central committee members also suggested the party leadership make the party´s position clear about a constitutional solution to the present impasse. While the NC establishment faction held its meeting at party headquarters at Sanepa, the Deuba faction held a separate meeting of ex-CA members and central committee members close to it at Budhanilkantha. The meeting discussed how the party should move ahead in regard to the issue of federalism and the fresh elections for the CA, according to Bal Krishna Khand, a central committee member close to Deuba. The meeting also discussed party unity. "Party unity is needed for facing the election," said Khand. Nnnn ________________________________________ . ________________________________________ MADESHI LEADERS DIVIDED ON ALLIANCE WITH MAOISTS Kathmandu, 31 May: The United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), an alliance of five ruling Madhes-based political parties, have been divided over an alliance with the UCPN (Maoist) in the November 22 elections, Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. The division surfaced during its first meeting since the announcement of the fresh elections for the Constituent Assembly on Wednesday. The meeting was convened by the UDMF to take stock of the political situation and chart out its strategies. According to leaders who participated in the meeting, Chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party-Nepal (TMDP-N) Mahanedra Yadav was in favor of cooperating with the Maoists while leaders of four other parties were against making a communist party an election ally. According to sources, Yadav, who is also a caretaker minister, said the Madhesi alliance should forge alliance with the UCPN (Maoist) as both forces shared common views on Madhesi causes. But reacting to Yadav´s proposal, Joint-General Secretary of TMDP Jitendra Sonal ruled out the possibility of alliance with the Maoists. "How can we forge an alliance with the UCPN (Maoist) as we have different ideologies?" a leader quoted Sonal as saying in the meeting. He also argued that it was not appropriate to cooperate with the UCPN (Maoist) as people with anti-Maoist sentiment had also voted for the Madhes-based political parties. When the proposal to forge alliance with the Maoist party was outright rejected, General Secretary of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Jitendra Dev maintained that the Madhes-based parties should go for new CA election by forming a single Madhesi party. Responding to Dev´s statement, General Secretary of MPRF-Republican Atmaram Sah questioned the basis of forming a single Madhesi party. "Before such talk, we should analyze why the Madhesi parties split in such a way," another Madhesi leader quoted Sah as saying. However, the Madhesi leaders unanimously decided to go for fresh election stating that there was no alternative to it. "We concluded that only the CA can promulgate a new constitution," said Sonal, adding, "We consider the new election for the CA as the legacy of the dissolved CA." He stated that the meeting decided to work together with ´true pro-federalist forces´ in the coming days. "We also decided to work with the pro-federalist forces -- Madhesi, Muslim, indigenous and other marginalized communities," Sonal added. Madhesi leaders claimed that despite their continuous efforts till the last hour, they could not save the CA as some political parties including Nepali Congress and CPN-UML stuck with anti-identity-based federal stance. Nnnn ________________________________________ . ‘MARGINALISED GROUPS’ TO FORM PARTIES FOR NEXT ELECTION Kathmandu, 31 May: Marginalised groups, including indigenous nationalities, feel that the next Constituent Assembly could be a vital catalyst to establish themselves as a new force of the country, much as the Nepali Congress, CPN- UML and the Unified CPN-Maoist proved themselves in 1950, 1990 and 2006, respectively, Ram Kumar Kamat writes in The Himalayan Times . Indigenous leaders believe that there would be a huge polarisation between federalist and non-federalist forces in the next CA elections, and therefore, they need to contest the polls under a new party or alliance to secure a two-thirds majority. Former CA members and leaders of marginalised communities from all kinds of parties — big and small — meet almost daily to discuss their strategies for the next CA elections. “Our aim is to secure two-thirds majority. We want to achieve the goal either through a new party or a broader alliance,” Aang Kaji Sherpa, General Secretary, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, told THT. NEFIN is going to hold a broader conference on June 2-3 during which the outfit may declare a new party or a new alliance. NEFIN President Raj Kumar Lekhi said NEFIN itself could be launched as a new party. According to Sherpa, indigenous leaders would see how some of the constitutional questions regarding the next CA elections would be resolved and how the relations between the President and the caretaker prime minister would go before they come up with their poll strategies. “We will devise clear strategies once all the current issues are resolved,” Sherpa added. While indigenous leaders believe that they would gain much from the next CA elections, some Maoist indigenous leaders see little prospect of their comrades leaving their mother party in order to join a new indigenous party. “UCPN-M is the only major party that has fully addressed the concerns of marginalised groups, and therefore, there is no need to form a new party to secure federalism and issues of inclusion,” said Maoist leader Lokendra Bista Magar. Indigenous leaders are also mulling over a nationwide campaign to expose anti-federalist forces and build momentum for genuine federalism. According to Magar, a political party can prove its relevance only on the basis of ideology, and therefore, if a new party of indigenous nationalities emerges and tries to cash in solely on the planks of federalism, it would be seen as a communal force and would lose its significance in the long run. Lekhi countered the argument saying there was the need of a separate party of indigenous nationalities and marginalised communities which can address their concerns about federalism and other issues of inclusion. “Had all the indigenous organisations had full faith on the UCPN-M, all the organisations associated with NEFIN would have joined the Maoist party by now,” Lekhi said. “People want a new party of indigenous nationalities and marginalised groups. If we do not open a new party, somebody else will come forward.” nnnn GOVERNANCE SECTION OF MUNICIPALITIES UNDER LOCAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTRY Kathmandu 31 May: The governance section of all municipalities will remain under the Ministry of Local Development, which has been converted into the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, The Himalayan Times reports.. However, Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre (SWMTSC), which was earlier under the MoLD, will be shifted to the Ministry of Urban Development. The Cabinet had restructured the ministries, creating two new ones about a month ago. The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoCPA) were created. MoUD will look into infrastructure development of municipalities, which was earlier under the Ministry of Local Development. The Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC) under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW) and the Municipal Management Division (MMD) of MoLD was expected to be shifted to MoUD. “Municipal management will remain under MoLD as per Terms of References prepared for the new ministries,” said joint-secretary Reshmi Raj Pandey, chief of MMD. “The governance section will be with us though MoUD will be looking into municipal development issues,” he said. “We will keep on looking into the governance and development issues of District Development Committees (DDC) and Village Development Committees (VDC).” The MoLD and MoUD will coordinate with towns and urban oriented places in the country. Pandey further said SWMTSC would be shifted to MoUD. “SWMTSC is entirely related to development issues and not local governance,” he added. The MoPPW has been split and merged with the Ministry of Physical Planning and Transportation and given authority to deal with infrastructure development of village development committees. Earlier, MoLD and MoPPW used to deal jointly with municipals and urban development. nnnn


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