Nepal: Shrestha Calls for Consensus Government and Constitution
Posted by Ka Frank on February 13, 2010
This article appeared on Telegraph Nepal on February 10, 2010.
Unless we have right to self determination, constitution can’t be drafted
Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Senior Maoist Leader
TGQ1: What measures are being taken to come out from the current political impasse? What the High Level Body has been doing of late? And also tell us something about what could be the solutions to the political dispute? Mr. Narayan Kaji please.
Mr. Narayan Kaji: The High level Body’s main job is to end the political dispute, carrying the peace process to its desired logical end and to draft the new constitution on time. Talks have begun freshly in this regard in the said Body. The High Level Mechanism has primarily raised the issues on how to sort out the current political mess as its prime agenda. All the leaders engaged in this Body have agreed to sort out the issues confronting the nation both in a formal and informal manner.
As regards to your second question, a correction should be made which created this mess. I mean, the current mess is due to the unconstitutional steps taken by the Nepal President, May 3, 2009, has got to be corrected primarily. In effect it was this decision which facilitated the current political differences. This is my party’s first and foremost condition. Yet in order to ease the process, we have forwarded a three point formulae in a package for the solution to the current mess.
First, this issue must be addressed at the CA body by bringing a common commitment proposal wherein the unconstitutional steps must be inserted in some way or the other.
Second, the president must express his pain as regards the current mess and appeal all to unite in drafting the constitution and also for the peace process at the CA body.
Third, the current constitution be amended in order to clearly stipulate the Presidential rights and duties and his scope of influence as well. The contradictory clauses contained in the present constitution must be done away with.
Though we have agreed on other issues, however, we have yet to arrive at a consensus on how to bring the Presidential issue as a common commitment proposal at the CA body.
TGQ2: Why the movement initiated by your party on Civilian Supremacy vanished in the ethereal medium? Why the movement was dumped or say suddenly took a back seat? When you have had to arrive at a consensus then why the movement was waged? Your comments please.
Mr. Narayan Kaji: We suspended our movement taking into proper account the precarious situation that prevails in the nation at the moment. We have felt or say concluded that the new constitution gets drafted as per the wishes of the people and also keeping an eye on the people’s war that we waged for over a decade or so in the recent past. We want the peace process to succeed. But concurrently we have been observing that counter-revolutionary forces have been impeding the peace process and also blocking the timely draft of the constitution. Even we observed that the CA body could see dissolution. Bids were on that line. We arrived at this stage on the premise of the 12 point (New Delhi not mentioned) agreement. To gain a new height, parties need to have a sort of high level understanding. This is why we saw the need for the formation of the High level Body. This body will now work for the solution to the current political disputes. We suspended our movement because we felt that the said High level Body will do something that addresses our demands.
However, if the High level body failed in its mission and also if the reactionary forces impede the overall peace process then we will again resort to agitation. That’s for sure.
We are always in favor of political consensus. We tried our best to forge consensus but it failed thus we embraced the agitation. But yet we kept open the gates for consensus while we were in agitation. Our agitation will not bring consensus among the political parties. The forces who were against such a consensus among the parties became stronger. That’s why we decided to form the High Level Body and the rest of the issues could be dealt with later by the body.
TGQ3: Will the High level Body seek an alternative to this government? The mathematical process of making and breaking of the government appears to be going on, in such a case will the constitution be drafted on time? Mr. Narayan Kaji: please.
Mr. Narayan Kaji: To tell you very frankly, if the parties really want to see the peace process see its logical end and timely draft of the condition and if they look back at the people’s mandate then I am of the view that there must be the formation of a Maoist party led government at the earliest. This is the need of the time as well. We presume that if the parties really ponder over and become sensible on what we say and claim then they too will feel that what we have been demanding was a correct claim. Until they come to this conclusion, the country will continue to be plagued with such political issues and the outlet to those will remain at a distance for some time more. This will also have a negative impact on the overall peace process. However, for the moment, we are not willing to change the government by making it an agenda. Neither it is a pre-condition.
We were the first to raise the voice that no mathematical game be allowed to play in politics. We had prior to the elections to the constituent assembly proposed that the interim constitution must not have a place for “opposition” bench.
The moment you give place to opposition bench then it becomes a parliament. Thus there was no place for opposition in the constitution. It was decided that a provision be inserted in the constitution of the need of two thirds majority for making or breaking of governments. The provision was made thus. This forced the major parties to sit together to forge consensus for the solution to any political crisis.
But when we bagged comfortable majority in the CA polls, the NC and the UML forced us to amend the constitution. We still respect and honor the politics of consensus. No mathematical play but we are of the opinion that a national consensus government be formed. Had we been in mathematical game, we would have kept engaged ourselves on how to bag three hundred votes at the CA body.
TGQ4: Okay! If there is a consensus government that has the representation of all the parties then in that eventuality what could be the alternatives for its leadership?
Mr. Narayan Kaji: Our prime demand is the formation of a national level government under our command. This is the mandate of the CA poll results as well. We have not so far looked at any other alternative than what we have in our mind already. Nor other parties have forwarded any such proposal in this regard. If they push their own proposals as regards the formation of such a government then we are ready to discuss on those proposals and will try to arrive at a consensus.
TGQ5: So could it be that a consensus is formed among the major parties and this government allowed to function so that the constitution could be drafted on time? For instance, if your party initiates yet another movement then in that eventuality the rest four months time period for the constitution draft will go to the dogs and if so then how the people will evaluate your party? Your comments please.
Mr. Narayan Kaji: No! I don’t see that possibility. We did not pay much attention to the issue of “change in government” because we sensed that there were clandestine efforts not to even allow the High level Body formed. Let the High level Body mechanism take up the needed and the required speed then only we will raise the issue of change in the guard of the next government.
Let me remind you that our movement or say agitation is for the peace process and timely draft of the constitution and nothing more than that. Trampling the civilian supremacy and taking up unconstitutional steps are the causes that have impeded the draft of the constitution and the peace process. Our slogan and movement in favor of civilian supremacy is aimed at timely draft of the constitution. We have very freshly added the issue of preservation of National Independence. Unless we the Nepalese bring to an end the foreign interference, the constitution can’t be drafted. Unless we have the right of self determination, the constitution can’t be drafted on the stipulated time frame.