Nepali Times Asian Paints
ANURAG ACHARYA
By The Way
The past foretold


ANURAG ACHARYA


BIKRAM RAI

The so-called agreement between the parties last month to go for fresh CA elections had effectively put the ghost of the dissolved CA to rest. It is a sign of the unpredictability of Nepali politics that a born-again CA is haunting Nepali politics once more.

Constitutional experts and media pundits may be divided over the legitimacy of a revived CA, the president may be urging the parties for elections, but that won't stop them from bringing back the house if there is a deal at the top level. And it does look like a deal is on the table and will be discussed over mutton curry and rice this Dasain.
To understand why the parties may ultimately strike a deal, we must not get distracted by what few leaders in each camp do or say, but look at the larger political reality through the lens of each party.

To begin with, the parties are well aware that elections cannot take place in the present situation. The NC and UML leadership, as many believe, are nervous about an electoral backlash for their alleged anti-federal position. But more importantly, the feeling has sunk in that the Maoists and Madhesis are calling the shots and with a compromised position on federalism, they do not have sufficient public support to put the government under political and moral pressure by resorting to street protests.

Does this mean the deadlock will be resolved and the nation will get the constitution through a revived house? Yes and no. The ruling coalition may succeed in getting the NC and UML to agree on a CA revival, but unlike what we had hoped for, the parties may not have a pre-agreement on all the sticking issues and the constitution may be declared without going into specificities of federalism.

To put it bluntly, the parties are not in a position to negotiate their respective positions, and are only trying to avoid radicalising the streets. The Maoists and Madhesis have already taken a firm stance on identity-based federalism without sufficiently making it clear to their constituency that there are four more categories of identity besides ethnic identity. So they are now scared to explain it, lest they would be seen as selling out.

Similarly, the Madhesi Front is anxious about making a deal on size and number of Madhes Pradesh fearing backlash from the Upendra Yadav-led morcha which is looking to undermine their influence.

The confusion within the NC and UML about identity remains. They know they will have to address the issue at some point, but there is a strong section in both the parties that sees any flexibility on the issue as succumbing to Maoist pressure.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal left for Brussels after throwing a deal on CA revival into the pot to see how it cooks. On his return this weekend he will launch another charm offensive on the NC and UML to accept his compromise to shelve discussions on identity-based federalism and pass a constitution on agreed points.

But a CA revival will not necessarily untangle the deadlock. The most it will do is pave way for a NC-led electoral government and the declaration of a half-way constitution that will satisfy few. The parties are hoping that if they agree on tentative number of federal units, the Janajatis and Madhesis will buy it.

But there is still a lack of a clear understanding as to how the names and numbers will be decided and whether the agreement on forms of governance and judiciary which was compromised upon in the final days of the CA is still valid.

Besides, the NC and UML may be wary that once the CA is revived, there will be increased pressure on the parties to table the State Restructuring Commission's report and go for voting because of which the last CA was dissolved without even convening.

The parties are once again trying to take an easier way around by postponing the difficult bits. Very few ideas are emerging that attempt to address the root of the problem. NC leader Gagan Thapa proposes 'one person three votes' solution whereby the country can simultaneously have local, parliamentary. and CA elections. "To avoid unnecessary politicking, we can ensure that members don't share CA and parliamentary seats and give a definite mandate," he told me on Wednesday.

Having a pre-agreement and declaring the constitution without postponing the federalism issue may still be the quickest and surest way to resolve the deadlock. But if the CA is revived only to pave way for power-sharing and postponing of key issues, the danger of polarised elections will remain.

See also:
Private wish for the public good
The only thing keeping Nepal afloat is individual resilience and the capacity of Nepalis to endure pain and hunger



1. B
CA revival... Are you serious?  You are such an a**.  I cant believe that you can actually say this in public and claim to be a political analyst. Anything declared dead cannot be revived. Noone should play god because no one is.  It is because of writers like you that leaders think that they can do whatever they want.  You should stop condoning the 4 party corrupt syndicate. 

2. Binu

Parties are in no mood to go for fresh elections. The more 'democratic' are more reluctant to go. NC-UML could have agreed to protect the CA in the last minute but they deliberately let it go by undermining the popular aspiration of public. Blame them for ruining our lives, ruining our country.


3. B
CA revival... Are you serious?  You are such an ass.  I cant believe that you can actually say this in public and claim to be a political analyst. Anything declared dead cannot be revived. Noone should play god because no one is.  It is because of writers like you that leaders think that they can do whatever they want.  You should stop condoning the 4 party corrupt syndicate. 

4. UnNepali
B, Who decides what is dead and what is not in this country? The SC had no authority to declare fate of CA, which was born out of 2006 poeple's mandate. Let me remind you, people's mandate for new federal republic constitution still stands. So, how can the house mandated to draft the document be dissolved without fulfilling its mandate?If you missed the basics of the Interim Constitution, here is a one line recap for you: The politics will be(should be) driven by consensus. So don't talk about what can or cannot be done. I would have agreed if Interim legislature was dissolved.  
CA may be dead for those who benefit from the way things are. For us who suffer everyday under transition, its the only redemption. Are you so stupid that you can't see what Prachanda is trying to do? He knows well, there is no way to conduct elections, so he is playing games with Sushil and Jhala Nath. Maoists are not so stupid that they will give up power to NC as long as Ram Baran, a Kangresi is President. Pranchanda is trying to get NC/UML to agree on new elections so that he can lead the next government.
 95% of the CA work is complete. Do you want the country to waste another billions just because stupid leaders cannot agree on few agendas?  Besides, what guarantee do you have that same people returning to new CA will all of a sudden agree on same set of problems? Incase you are remotely considering a constitution drafted by another body other than CA, read Interim Constitution again. Dude, look at the bigger picture. Elections that leaders are touting has nothing to do with the constitution. Its just a power arrangement leaders are heading towards because they(including Prachanda)  dont know how to get Bhattarai out of power and are dying to get a pie of it themselves. The only way to force the parties to declare constitution is to frustrate them, keep them out of power. Bhattarai is already a caretaker, he can't do much as long as President is there (remember how he has blocked several ordinances) and nobody else can be PM without new agreement. So, the best thing is to make Constitution the bottom line for any agreement, even if that means reviving the CA. Read carefully: 'Having a pre-agreement and declaring the constitution without postponing the federalism issue may still be the quickest and surest way to resolve the deadlock.' Anurag has hit the nail. But i guess, Nepalis have always been stupid people, easy to be fooled. You are just one among padhe likhe gawaar this country's useless education system has produced who thinks anything Kangresi and UML leaders say is a divine sermon. 


5. Nepali

Whoa, whence the outburst, #4? Are you Mr Acharya himself? And is there something #4 said that pricked you so much?

"Nepalis have always been stupid people, easy to be fooled. You are just one among padhe likhe gawaar this country's useless education system has produced who thinks anything Kangresi and UML leaders say is a divine sermon."

That makes you stupid too, since you seem to follow what the Maobadis say as divine sermon?

 



6. Soni
#4, Your incoherent rant is ridiculous in its fundamental assumption, peoples mandate is delivered through elections held within a legitimate framework of laws and regulations, which is commonly agreed upon through institutions whose integrity is beyond question.

The 2006 mandate was a mandate comparable to the rule of gangsters. 

The political parties ordered their goons to come out onto the streets, these goons were allowed a free pass by the Maoists, a gang of murderers and thieves, and they were joined in by a few civic minded individuals in the hope that if they threw a few bones to a dog, its hunger would be sated, and then of course the jackals called the intellectuals provided a semblance of legitimacy in the hope of being thrown a few spare bones their way.

If this is were to be the building blocks of a nation with a proud history, then this is the weakest foundation any nation could establish. 

A revolution built on empty rhetoric, governance on false promises, leadership of deception, and hypocrisy of a treacherous intellectual leadership, I say no thank you to all that.


7. B
#4...i am a pahade why? if elections should not be held because they are expensive...why hold elections at all? What constitution? What CA? CA was never involved in the constitution making process...so why not just have three or is it 4, parties declare the constitution themselves? 95% finished? are you serious? 95%? really? come on?.....what's 95% finished is our our national treasury, our dignity, our shame, our tolerance of each other, our respect of each other, our pride...and so on and so on....Please save the 5%:)

8. B
#4 by the way, i do agree that no other parties can produce a PM like bhattarai. Despite of everything that people say about BRB, who else is there?

9. Reason
Mr. B and all : I think political analysis/ article is the author viewpoint on which readers have their own dis/agreements. I am surprised to see that NT publishes unhealthy/ personal comments like above. 


10. Anti reason
Here comes the know it all Mr. Reason. Let there be discussions, disagreements and arguments...after all these are much better options than raising your fist or arms right?:)

Who are you to decide what is healthy and unhealthy comments?


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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