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Archive for May 4th, 2009

Neil Horning: Nepal Divides over Army Chief

Posted by Mike E on May 4, 2009

nepal-army-day-2009-2-23-8-34-59Neil Horning, an American expert on Maoist movement, maintains a personal blog at Neil’s Nepal where this post first appeared.
Original title “Why Nepal is Divided Over the Sacking of Army Chief?”

By Neil Horning

It’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly.

Three reasons:

In a democracy, the Army should not be a center of power in the slightest. It is supposed to carry out the will of the elected government within the confines of the constitution. To illustrate, when Obama was elected, it was considered a novelty when he did not replace the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Thus, in assessing this development, I feel it’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly.

There a couple of reasons why this could be so. In increasing importance:

1. The Army Chief has important friends in elite circles

Even in the US it’s common to say, “it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” This could not be truer in Nepal. While the country has gone through tremulous upheaval recently, nepotism, corruption, and crony-ism have hardly abated. While the Nepali Congress and The UML formally apposed the Palace, their upper crust, mostly Brahmin-Chetri members ran in the same social circles with royals and royalists, dined with them, attended the same wedding receptions, ran the same civic organizations, served on the same boards, etc. All in this elite class share the goal of, to one degree or another, preserving the power of their own class-caste. These are social contacts that nearly all Maoist members severed while going underground, if they existed to begin with, and they hardly have had time to return. The Army Chief Surely has many friends within the CPN UML and NC, if not relatives (which trump all), and many favors to call in.

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Ben Peterson Report: Kathmandu May 4

Posted by Mike E on May 4, 2009

nepal_01UPDATE- May 4 – 4:00PM Kathmandu

The Maoist led government is not more.

I have just come from a press conference at the Prime Ministers office where Prime Minister Prachanda was to address the nation.

The Meeting was first addressed by Minister of Communications and Information, and spokesperson of the Government, Krishna Mahara. He informed those present that the just completed cabinet meeting has declared that the actions of the President in reinstating the Chief of Army Staff was illegal, and sent him a letter demanding he revoke his decision. He also informed that the cabinet meeting has also accepted the resignations that had been presented by the ministers from the UML and the Sabdhavana party.

After this Prachanda addressed the Nation. He announced that he has resigned from his position as Prime Minister. This has naturally completely changed the political situation in Nepal. It seems, my early analysis would be, that this is to open it up to the opposition to try and create a government without the Maoists, which would be extremely difficult and have no political basis- apart from being “anti-Maoists”.

It is hard to tell at present the exact course of events, however, when i have more information i will pass it on. There again has been protests from both sides all day, which without doubt would have had some clashes.

Still a situation of tremendous uncertainty. things are changing by the moment, sorry for short post…

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CPN(United Marxist-Leninist) Pulls out of Nepali Gov’t

Posted by irisbright on May 4, 2009

Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam, right.

Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam, right.

This article was originally posted at Nepal News.

UML, Sadhawana decide to pull out of govt; UML ministers resign
Two out of five coalition partners – the CPN (UML) and Sadbhawana Party have decided to pull out of the Maoist-led government, opposing the latter’s unilateral decision to sack Chief of Army Staff Rookmangud Katawal.

Ministers representing the UML have resigned from their positions following the party decision, Sunday evening.
Leader of the UML team in the government Bam Dev Gautam tendered resignations on behalf of all six ministers representing the party. Earlier, an emergency meeting of the party’s standing committee held after the cabinet decision to sack the army chief Sunday afternoon had decided to call back its ministers from the government and withdraw its support to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Talking to journalists after the meeting, party general secretary Ishwor Pokharel said the party had decided to quit the government and withdraw its support to the Maoists for taking unilateral decisions one after the other violating the accord of taking decisions of national importance with a consensus.

A time has come to forge a new alliance of all parties with a national consensus, Pokharel said.

UML also called an ‘all-party’ meeting following the standing committee meeting where the main opposition Nepali Congress and various fringe parties including Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party, RPP Nepal and CPN (Samyukta) are participating.

Sadbhawana party has also decided to pull out of the government. The chairman of the party and Minister for Industry and Commerce Rajendra Mahato told journalists after meeting President Ram Baran Yadav Sunday evening his party had quit the government. He had gone to meet the President in a private vehicle.

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PM Prachanda Resigns

Posted by irisbright on May 4, 2009

This was originally posted at Nepal News.

Prime Minister Dahal resigns slamming Prez’s move

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday announced resignation from his post in the wake of new political developments after President Ram Baran Yadav vetoed the government’s decision to sack army chief Rookmangud Katawal.

Dahal made this announcement in his address to the nation at Singh Durbar this afternoon which came less than 24 hours after two coalition partners CPN (UML) and Sadbhawana Party pulled out of the government protesting the government decision.

“I am ready to make any kind of sacrifices needed to protect the republican set up which is still in its infant stage, and for the sake of the country,” he said in the address, adding that it is not appropriate to remain in the government when there clearly exist two ruling powers (executive and President) in the country.

Describing President Yadav’s yesterday’s move to override the government’s decision to sack the Army chief as “unconstitutional”, Dahal said it has dealt serious blow to democracy, peace process and the newly established republican order and asked him to rectify his decision.

Saying that a constitutional President has no right to block the decisions of an elected government, Dahal also accused him of acting under the provocation of parties.

Clearly referring to key coalition partner CPN-UML and Sadbhavana Party which pulled out of the government following the government’s move, he said his government was unable to do the kind of work expected from it because of the tendency of some leaders of the political parties to go with the government’s decision at first but immediately back away from it after coming under the pressure of the foreign power centers. He said the same thing happened in the Army chief episode.

He didn’t say who were the foreign powers that have been influencing the decision of the parties, but claimed that “various power centers exercise their influence in Nepal.”

“However, we won’t tolerate interference in Nepal’s internal affairs,” he said.
Saying that his party was committed to democracy, human rights and press freedom, Dahal also stressed that political parties need to move ahead in consensus and cooperation among each others in the coming days.

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Nepali Coup-Makers and Royalists Online

Posted by Mike E on May 4, 2009

King Gyanendra

King Gyanendra

Kasama received the following interesting note.

A number of royalist and Seven Party backers are beginning to hype the creation of a group called “United Nationalist Nepalese.” I’ve seen a couple of references to the group. Their press release is here.

I did a very quick search for any UNN affiliated groups on Facebook. By good fortune, they’re stupid enough to be operating very publicly.

(Also, belying their liberal rhetoric, there is a distinct overlap with another Facebook Group calling for restoration of the monarchy.)

The group lists as its main honcho “General Secretary” a fellow named Ashutosh Shrivastav in Houston, TX. He is an open royalist, as evidenced by this writing that I stumbled upon after a Google search.

At any rate, I hope these sites will be monitored, as it’s clear that they’re ramping up their propaganda, which I hope Revolution in South Asia can counteract.

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