Nepal Today

Thursday, June 13, 2013

BISHWAPRAKASH PANDIT NEW ENERGY SECRETARY Kathmandu, 14 June: Biswaprakash Pandit has been appointed Energy secretary by the cabinet Thursday. Hariram Koirala has been transferred to the Office of Vice President. Krishna Chandra Paudel has been moved to the Water and Energy Commission and Ganesh Raj Joshi is the new forest secretary. Lal Mani Joshi has been transferred to the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation. Similarly, secretaries Sharada Prasad Trital to the Office of the President. and Janardhan Nepal has been appointed commerce secretary. Jagadish Chandra Lal was appointed Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal after a promotion. .nnnn UCPN MAOIST CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEET RESUMES Kathmandu, 14 June: UCPB Maoist central committee resumes discussions Friday on three papers presented Thursday on a political report of Chairman Prachanda, an organization review and party class. situation of leadership. The committee meeting began ahead of constituent assembly elections and after the 7th general convention in Hetauda. An intense power struggle in ongoing to gram positions and responsibilities in party policy making bodies. The central committee is being expanded. . FRIDAY MORNING CAPITAL TEMPERATURE 19 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 14 June: Friday morning temperature in the capital was 19 degrees Celsius. Mercury is expected to rise to 29 degrees in the afternoon. Nnnn GOVT. DEBARS CONVICTED PERSONS FROM CONTESTING 19 NOV. ELECTIONS Kathmandu, 14 June : After three months of debate on the issue, the Interim Election Council has announced November 19 as the date for polls for electing a new Constituent Assembly (CA), Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. A cabinet meeting held at Singha Durbar on Thursday announced that the CA election is to be held on November 19. The government"s decision comes at a time when the Interim Election Council, which has been formed solely for the purpose of holding fresh polls, is being criticized for delay in announcing a poll date even three months after its formation. According to Minister for Local Development Bidyadhar Mallik, the cabinet meeting also forwarded the ordinance on amending the Election of Members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) Act, 2013 to President Ram Baran Yadav for approval. The president is likely to approve the ordinance on Friday. At a time when political parties were sharply divided over the eligibility threshold of one percent for seat allocations under proportional electoral system, the Interim Election Council has forwarded the election-related ordinance after removing the proposed threshold provision. “There is no eligibility threshold in the ordinance,” Mallik told Republica. Though the EC had earlier proposed that a political party must secure 1.5 percent of the total valid vote cast in the election in order to claim seat allocations under proportional representation, the constitutional body reduced the figure to one percent following objections by fringe parties. The government has also excluded the proposed provision that a candidate should disclose his/her property details and state whether or not he/she is a defendant in any court case filed by the government. However, the ordinance has barred candidates who have already been handed down final verdicts of guilty by the courts for involvements in criminal cases. “Those who have been handed down final sentences by the courts for involvement in criminal cases including corruption, rape, murder, passport misuse, money laundering, drug smuggling and human trafficking, among other things, or have been black-listed, cannot file candidacy,” Mallik said about the provision in the ordinance. The Election Commission (EC) had proposed that persons convicted of criminal offense or accused of moral turpitude should be barred from filing candidacy and be allowed to contest elections only six years after completing the sentences handed down by the courts or other judicial authorities. According to the proposal, a person who is convicted of murder, theft, robbery, misappropriation of foreign currency, kidnap, rape, corruption, human trafficking, money laundering, banking irregularity, passport misuse, drug smuggling, jailbreak or abetting in jail break, smuggling of protected fauna, flora or objects of archeological importance, illegal trade, and spying, among other illegal activities, or has shown moral turpitude, cannot be a member of any political party if he or she has not completed the sentence handed down by a court or any other judicial authority. Following failure to forge consensus on these issues, the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) on Monday had entrusted the Interim Election Council with responsibility for settling contentious issues related to elections and announcing the election date. UCPN (Maoist) and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), among other political parties, were against the new proposal while Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML had been sticking to their position on the eligibility threshold. Constituency Delineation Commission The Interim Election Council has also formed a five-member Constituency Delineation Commission (CDC) under former justice Tahir Ali Ansari. Geographer Netra Dhital, sociologist Dambar Chemjong and administrator Madhu Nidhi Tiwari have been appointed as members of the commission while Secretary at the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Minister Raju Man Singh Malla is member secretary of the CDC, said Information and Communications Minister Madhav Prasad Poudel. According to Article 154 A of the Interim Constitution, the government may constitute a Constituency Delimitation Commission to determine election constituencies for the purpose of election of members of the Constituent Assembly, and the commission shall consist of a retired justice of the SC as chairperson, a geographer, a sociologist and an administrator or management expert as members and a special class officer in the service of the government as member-secretary. Poudel, who is also the government"s spokesperson, said that the CDC had been given one month to submit its report. The commission will review the existing 240 election constituencies in accordance with the latest census report. Earlier, the political parties had already agreed on a 491-member CA. Clause 3 (a) of Article 63 in the Interim Constitution states that members to be elected under the first-past-the-post modality will be elected on the basis of one member from each of the 240 election constituencies delimited by the Election Constituency Delimitation Commission in accordance with the population fixed by the national census preceding the CA election, and for this purpose an administrative district will be treated as an election district, with the number of constituencies therein determined on the basis of the population of that district. The Supreme Court (SC) on April 16 had ordered the Interim Election Council and the Election Commission (EC) to delineate the election constituencies anew before conducting polls for the CA. ´Others´ defined While the existing election law classifies several caste groups other than Janajati, Dalit and Adivasi as ´others´, the new ordinance forwarded to the president defines ´others´ as Brahman, Kshetriya, Dasnami, etc. Nnnn JUST FOUR MADESHI PARTIES MAY SURVIVE Kathmandu, 14 June: Dr. Tilak Rawal and Ramesh Ranjan Jha are the latest to switch sides. While Rawal, a former Nepal Rastra Bank governor and member of the Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum (Loktantrik), has joined the Nepali Congress, Jha, a central member of the CPN-UML cultural department, is set to join the UCPN (Maoist), Jivesh Jha writes in Republica. . Switching sides has now become the norm for leaders of Madhes-based political parties. With the government all set to announce the date for fresh Constituent Assembly elections, a large number of Madhesi leaders are either mulling to join another party or are involved in bargaining over opportunities. Ever since the formation of the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum under the leadership of Upendra Yadav just before the CA election in April 2008, Madhesi politics has been characterized by horse-trading and blame games. While the bigger Madhesi parties are trying to lure members of smaller ones and independents to strengthen their own organizations, leaders of various smaller Madhesi parties are looking for opportunities within the bigger ones for their political survival. This has led to fragmentation in Madhesi politics, with popular sentiments getting scant attention. The fallout of this across the gamut of Madhesi parties has left the Madhesi movement much weaker, with more than a dozen parties claiming to be for the Madhesi people. However, those closely watching Madhesi politics believe that only four Madhesi parties are set to survive in Madhes. Political analyst Chandra Kishor says that Madhesi leaders have become weak in the eyes of the Madhesi people, and they fear the people might not vote for them in the coming election. "This is the reason why the major Madhesi parties are trying to either lure other parties over or form alliances," he said. There is no connection between Madhesi leaders and the Madhesi people, feels Kishor. "As the Madhesi leaders have only worked for their own personal gain, the people in Madhes will not support them in the coming election," he said. According to him, only four major parties are likely to survive as significant entities. Upendra Yadav´s Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Nepal (MJF-N), the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) of Bijaya Gachchhedar, Mahanta Thakur´s Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) and Nepal Sadbhawana Party (NSP) led by Rajendra Mahato are in a better position to woo leaders and cadres from the smaller parties. Senior Madhesi leader and vice president of TMLP Brikhesh Chanda Lal agrees with Kishor that only these four will remain as forces to be reckoned with. The rest of the 30 Madhes-based parties will either fizzle out or merge with one or the other of these four. Both of them also agree that Madhesi leaders are merging and unifying with different political outfits just to catch popular sentiment and maintain party dignity. Among the four, Upendra Yadav-led MJF will come out as the main force in Madhes as Yadav has been forming an alliance with non-Madhesi parties, says Kishor. Gachchhedar, Thakur and Mahato will try to remain in the reckoning by strengthening their positions. Meanwhile, this struggle for survival is getting dirtier, feels Anil Jha, chairman of Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party."Gachchhedar and Mahato are offering millions of rupees to ex-lawmakers to lure them into their parties," he claims. In the latest instances of switching sides, Mahendra Yadav of TMLP-Nepal is set to join MJF, according to Brishesh Chandra Lal, vice-president of TMLP. "He feels compelled to join MJF as all his colleagues have left him," he claims, adding that the Raj Kishor Yadav-led MJF (Ganatantrik) is likewise going to merge with the Gachchhedar-led MJF(L). However, Upendra Yadav said that Lal´s claim is doubtful as they are unaware of any such attempts and there have been no approaches from Mahendra Raya Yadav. In an exclusive talk with Republica, Lal claimed that the Raj Kishore Yadav-led MPRF (Gantantrik) is also going to merge with the Gachhedar-led Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (Democratic). However, Rajeev Jha, central member of Mahato-led NSP, said that unification among Madhesi parties is a healthy exercise to remain in the picture. It is but natural for the smaller Madhesi parties to merge with the bigger ones for their own survival, say analysts. But not all of them will survive, as the race is narrowing down to the four major parties. Nnnn


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