Wednesday, May 31, 2006
It might not be a bad idea to expand the size of the House: 40 seats for the Maoists, and 25 for others, like members of the civil society, the DaMaJaMa leaders, youth leaders like Gagan Thapa. The total size would be 270.
Constituent Assembly: 300 Seats Of Roughly Equal Population
That could also be the size of the constituent assembly. One seat for every 100,000 Nepali.
The Maoists want the House dissolved. The seven party alliance is against the idea. The UML wants the local bodies revived. The Maoists are opposed to that idea. So we have to get creative and seek some middle ground.
And we have to remember, this is a short term thing. The real issue is not the interim government. The real issue is the constituent assembly. Let the eight parties prove themselves to the people, not to each other.
Right now the Maoists are missing at the center and the seven parties are missing at the local levels. All eight parties should be present at both the center and at the local levels. The concept of eight party government has to be applied also at the village, town and district levels for the interim period.
But the real challenge is to (1) fast forward the peace talks, (2) hold elections to a constituent assembly, (3) draw up a new constitution, (4) submit it to a referendum, (5) hold parliamentary elections, (6) hold local elections.
Because the all party governments at the local levels will last longer than the one at the center, it actually is more important that the Maoists do their part for the formation of all party governments at the local levels.
at May 31, 2006
Nepal King’s Kin Feel The Backlash The Peninsula At least five people related to the king by marriage have had their land in eastern Nepal captured by irate local people who began distributing it among shanty dwellers ....locals in Khanal and Itahari towns in Sunsari district in eastern Nepal began forcing their way into the property of the king’s two brothers-in-law and three more relatives, asking landless shanty dwellers to come and build their homes on over 100 bighas of land....Suraj Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana and Uday Shumsher had their land occupied by the landless people who promptly began building on the encroached plot. Three other royal relatives, Padma Shah, Ravi Vikram Shah and Krishna Vikram Shah faced the same fate. A resort in Itahari belonging to the queen’s family — the Royal Resort — has also been forcibly occupied by locals ....The aunt, Princess Helen Shah, her daughter Ketaki Chester and grandson Kapil Rana left Nepal last week, reportedly for Europe.This is a little alarming. I am not for or against confiscating land for redistribution. But if that is to be done, it has to be done through rule of law. This revolutionary parliament could pass laws to take such actions. But I'd rather wait until the country has a new constitution and a new parliament under that new constitution. Land reform has to be saved for later. To get into that now could easily mess up the rest of our agenda. Things could go seriously wrong.
This particular move though does not seem to have been engineered by the Maoists as a matter of party policy. It seems to be spontaneous action, small scale, and without violence. I am just trying to stay positive here. But we do have to watch for the trickle before it becomes a flood.
If the Maoists were to engage in acts like this one now, that could scuttle the peace process. We could be looking at civil war. And that will mean no land reform, just more bloodshed. We don't want that. I am all for land reform. I just want it done right. We don't want to do it like in Zimbabwe. We have to do it in a way that the economy does not get hurt. We have to do it in a way that the agricultural productivity goes up.
I am for a republic. And I think the king should be able to keep the property he owned before he became king. Let that be a test for our commitment to right to property, which is as fundamental a human right as the right to free speech.
A lot of people do not compare right to property to right to free speech. Especially after the morale boosting April Revolution, there might be a temptation among some to push the envelope. But we can not go against what we fought for. We fought for human rights.
Free speech is not okay only as long as someone only says things you like. Free speech is also okay when someone makes you feel uncomfortable. By extension, the right to property applies to the poor, but it also applies to the rich.
But then I am all for massive investments in education, in health, in micro credit. I am all for land reform. I am so eager, I can't wait. That is why I want us to breeze through peace talks, and the constituent assembly, and a new constitution and a new parliament fast. So we can get down to meaningful stuff like land reform.
Land Reform, Truth And Reconciliation
All Party Government Also At The Local Levels
We should end up with an eight party government at the center, and eight party governments at the local levels as well. More than anything else, it will be a great contribution to the peace process. I see this as a trust building measure second to none.
If the Maoists are to be watched - I don't think they need to be - but if there is a need to keep an eye on them, what better way than to join them to govern?
Who will prevail?: Fight over local bodies NepalNews CPN (UML)—one of the constituents of the Seven Party Alliance—has locked horns with the CPN (Maoist) over the issue of reinstatement of the local bodies that were elected nine years ago ...... the Maoists .... their parallel "people's governments" constituted by them at the local level ...... such bodies could be dissolved after the success of the peace talks between the government and the Maoists...... "Rather than reviving local bodies we can go ahead by forming political units, comprising representation of all political parties," said Sharma. “We have People’s army, People’s Government and Autonomous regions, we are ready to resolve such issues through the process of negotiations” ....... The UML—that had won elections in nearly 60 percent of the seats in the local bodies during the last elections—has also been demanding that popularly elected representatives to local bodies be reinstated through political decision. .......Shanker Pokhrel, a CPN UML lawmaker ..... Pokhrel further added that the issue of reinstatement of local bodies could be discussed during the negotiation table and provision should be made to incorporate the Maoists at the local level as well when they participate in the interim government...... differences like reinstatement of the local bodies should not be blown out of proportions...... 'unseen struggle' between the CPN (Maoist) and the CPN (UML) over the issue of strengthening their organizational bases at the local level. Thousands of local cadres of the UML defected the party after its vertical split in 1998 and joined the CPN (Maoist).I am not too worried about this political tussle between the two left parties. There is some bargaining going on. There is some posturing involved. That is but normal. I am sure they will hash out the details during the peace talks.
Prachanda Out In The Open