Monday, June 30, 2008

The face of the MJF - Upendra Yadav - puppet on a string

Three parties to hold consultations with Madhesi parties jointly on Tuesday

The three major parties have decided to hold consultations with Madhesi parties jointly on Tuesday morning.

The meeting of the three parties – Nepali Congress (NC), Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) and Maoists – held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction ended, Monday evening, agreeing to hold joint meeting with Madhesi parties.

They have not reached to any decision regarding the demands of the Madhesi parties for incorporating the Madhes autonomous province and collective recruitment of Madhesis in national army in the proposed bill to introduce fifth amendment of the constitution.

"We agreed to hold meetings with Madhesi parties to resolve the deadlock. But we are not going to accept the demand for single Madhes province. That is not going to happen," said Mohan Baidya Kiran, senior Maoist leader, talking to reporters after the meeting of three parties.

Although the three parties were scheduled to hold the meeting with three Madhesi parties – the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (NSP) – on Monday itself, the meeting could not take place after the MJF leaders stayed away, say reports.

The MJF coordinator Upendra Yadav, instead, held a separate meeting with UML leaders on Monday afternoon.

The Madhesi parties have been obstructing the meeting of Constituent Assembly since last few days raising their demands. On Monday also they obstructed the CA meeting for the fourth consecutive time.

Prachanda blames Terai parties for delay in govt formation

Chairman Prachanda' on Monday blamed the Terai-based parties of delaying the formation of a new government by obstructing the Constituent Assembly (CA) proceedings.

"The [announcement of] resignation by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala immediately paved way for the formation of a new government, however the process has again been delayed by the obstruction created by the Tarai-based parties," chairman Dahal said speaking to a group of South Korean journalists that reached his residence at Nayabazaar to interview him Monday morning.

Just as it appeared that the deck for a formation of a new Maoist led government had been cleared by Koirala's resignation, the Terai-based parties have obstructed the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly (CA) for a straight three days demanding that the constitution amendment bill tabled in the CA address the issues raised by them.

Chairman Prachanda also informed that political parties are currently engaged in homework to form the new government in a week's time.

The Maoist Chairman also said that immediately after forming a new government under its leadership his party would pursue big projects and come up with attractive programs so that the people would immediately start to "feel the transformation" that has arrived in the country.

In a question about the army-integration, Prachanda said that there are plans to cut down the size of both the Maoist People's Liberation Army and Nepal Army which he referred to as a national army.

"There is no need to have more than 50,000 soldiers in the national army," he said, and suggested that the those who are laid off can be put into development works.

The Maoist chairman, who is to head the first democratically elected Maoist government in the world, appears to be a bit cross with the Terai-based parties over the obstruction created by them in the proceedings of the CA.

Although he has said that he supports the Terai parties demand for an autonomous Madhesh state, as per the agreement between the government and United Democratic Madheshi Front, an alliance of major Terai parties like Madheshi Janadhikar Forum, Terai Madhesh Loktantric Party and Sadbhawana Partry, he has publicly expressed his objection to the demand raised by them for declaring the whole of Terai (from Mechi to Mahakali) as a single Madhesh province.

Top Madheshi leaders including MJF's Upendra Yadav and Jay Prakash Prasad Gupta have threatened of a nationwide stir if the government turned down their demand for a single Madhesh province.

However, the indigenous Tharus, who consider themselves Terai's original"son of the soil", have raised objection against the demands of Terai parties for a single province in the Terai belt.

Tharu Welfare Assembly said that the "One Madhesh" demand have been made to convert their land - Tharuhat - into Madhesh and have warned that they might even resort to arm struggle if anybody downplayed their identity and existence.

Chure Bhawar Ekata Party (CBEP) which represents the people of hilly origin in Terai, has also raised objections against the demands for one Madhesh province, saying that it would sow the seed of 'national disintegration'

In Nepal: 'We are trying our best to understand democracy'

In Nepal: 'We are trying our best to understand democracy'

The Maoist guerrilla leader who is about to become Nepal's prime minister faces a dilemma: how can he reconcile his ideology with the realities of political office?

It is not easy securing a meeting with the Maoist guerrilla leader poised to become prime minister of the new republic of Nepal.

Prachanda, which means "awesome" or "the fierce one", came out of the jungle two years ago, but his journey from insurgent commander to mainstream politician is far from complete. As if to emphasise his distance from the Kathmandu political establishment, which he calls "feudal", he lives in a run-down area of the city, close to a rubbish-strewn canal. His house, with sandbagged emplacements at each corner, is guarded by unsmiling male and female cadres in camouflage fatigues and caps with a red star on the peak.

The presence of these guerrillas in the heart of the capital is chilling for Kathmandu's people. If they were able to shut out thoughts of the Maoists' 10-year rural rebellion, in which more than 13,000 people died, they cannot do so any longer. One of the most difficult issues in the new Nepal – with which Britain may be asked to help – is how to integrate more than 23,000 Maoist fighters into an army whose generals refuse to have anything to do with them.

A newspaper showed the mustachioed Prachanda morphing into Stalin, with the headline: "Same to Same". Yet emissaries from the old political elite, foreign ambassadors and nervous businessmen have no choice but to seek an audience with him, since his Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won more than a third of the seats in the Constituent Assembly two months ago. The interim prime minister, G P Koirala, whose Nepali Congress Party was soundly defeated in April, has finally given up his struggle to cling to some shreds of power and has resigned, clearing the way for the 53-year-old Maoist to take over.

After prolonged negotiations through several intermediaries, including Nepal's leading movie star, who had played an insurgent in one recent production, I was told to be at Prachanda's house at 6.30am for one of the few interviews he has ever given the British press. As I arrived, the sun was just picking out the white stupa of Swayambhu, one of Buddhism's most sacred sites, which overlooks Kathmandu. A once-over by suspicious bodyguards and a hushed wait in a packed anteroom heightened the sense of occasion.

In person, however, Prachanda – real name Pushpa Kamal Dahal – is plump and jovial, almost twinkly. Though he had been up far into the night in stalemated negotiations, he betrayed no sign of weariness. He commands a movement known to have been responsible for extortion and summary executions, but his manner is more reminiscent of the schoolteacher he once was. And it soon emerges that his brand of Maoism would not be recognised by the founder of Communist China, or the leaders of Peru's Shining Path, supposedly Prachanda's inspiration.

In good English, he declares that "we are trying our best to build a new Nepal", in which the feudal political and economic structures will be replaced by "a more dynamic, more capitalistic, mode of production". Did he say capitalistic? "You are surprised to hear that from the mouth of a Maoist," he chuckles. "The main thing is that we are against feudalism," by which he appears to mean a political and business establishment, working closely with the now-abolished monarchy, which was noted for a high degree of corruption. "We have to have capitalism before we can have socialism."

The CPN (M) is well short of a majority in the assembly – ironically, it might have won one if it had not insisted on strict proportional representation – and Prachanda will have to go into coalition to form a government. But this too is part of his ideology. "We are trying our best to understand democracy," he says. "Even in socialism, multi-party competition is a must. I derive this conclusion from Comrade Lenin. Just before he died, he introduced a bourgeois economic policy. If he had lived another five years, Lenin would have introduced multi-party competition." Even more heretically, he insists that the author of Soviet Communism "made many mistakes". As for the Shining Path, its way was "too one-sided – it could not mobilise the masses".

There has always been a strong surrealist tinge to politics in the Himalayan nation. Apart from Prachanda's Maoists, there are several other communist parties of Nepal – the United, the Unified, the Marxist-Leninist and the Unified Marxist-Leninist or UML, the third largest party in the assembly. It is all reminiscent of the squabbles between the Judean People's Liberation Front and the People's Liberation Front of Judea, but nothing unusual for a country which for centuries was the world's only Hindu kingdom, and is now in the midst of a transition to the world's first elected Maoist administration.

Prachanda is in earnest, however, when he argues that his government will be a historic break with the past. For the first time, the hill peoples and rural peasants, almost half of the country's 26 million people, will have a voice; what he calls "the old parliamentary parties", Congress and the UML, "don't understand the whole dynamics of change". If the new president, vice-president and prime minister were all from the upper castes, "I don't think it will be tolerated by the mass of people".

Donor countries which have watched billions of dollars in aid end up in private bank accounts might welcome cleaner government in Nepal, but the US still has the Maoists on its list of terrorist organisations. The previous administration sought to persuade George Bush's White House that the insurgency was part of the international "war on terror", and the Nepalese army received some heavy US weaponry and training before the 2006 truce. Delhi, meanwhile, is watching anxiously to see whether Nepal, traditionally a buffer state between India and China, will lean towards Asia's other superpower under a Maoist leader. Among those waiting for an audience in Prachanda's anteroom was India's ambassador to Nepal.

Critics argue that the CPN (M) leader's talk of historic change masks a rejection of the country's traditional instinct to seek peaceful compromise. They say he began his revolt just when Nepal was beginning to enjoy greater democracy and economic growth, and that the insurgency ruined the economy and encouraged banditry. Many people voted for the party, it is claimed, simply because they feared it might otherwise restart the conflict. Slightly defensively, Prachanda says his party tried to "convince the people" through peaceful means first, but demonstrators had been killed and rural people subjected to "brutal oppression". The Maoists had offered many times to stop fighting in exchange for the settlement which has now been reached, he insists. But even though the constituent assembly abolished the monarchy – a few days before our interview the last king, Gyanendra, left the royal palace in the centre of Kathmandu and became plain Mr Shah – Nepal has otherwise been in a stalemate for the past 10 weeks.

Whether Mr Koirala's resignation breaks the deadlock remains to be seen: Prachanda has many other opponents, not least the army, which was commanded by the king and rejects the idea of being subject to a politician's orders, especially such a radical politician.

Near Pokhara, Nepal's second city, I saw a white UN helicopter taking off to monitor the Maoist guerrillas, most of whom have been in camps since the truce, awaiting integration with the military. Britain agrees that the present situation is "not sustainable", and says it is ready to provide technical support and guidance to reform the security sector, if asked. Prachanda seems likely to request such assistance if he forms a government – Britain has been "directly involved" in the peace process, he says, and could help in a "very effective way" with creating a unified force. In his view, it could even play a role in persuading the US to stop listing his movement as terrorists.

There has been speculation that if the Maoists came to power they would stop Gurkhas joining the British Army, but their leader is happy to quash it. "They should have proper jobs in Nepal rather than needing to join foreign armies," he says. "But until that is the situation, we will continue to allow their recruitment, though we support their demands for equal treatment with British soldiers."

It is easy to imagine Prachanda in front of a class as he expounds the party line. "Marxism is not a sectarian or a dogmatic philosophy," he says. "Anyone who is really scientific, who is really sincere about Marxism, about dialectical materialism, would understand that he has to develop his ideology according to the changed situation." This seems to be his way of preparing his faithful for the many compromises that may lie ahead.

The leader's aides are beginning to get restless, and there is time for just one more question. If Mr Gyanendra Shah, the ex-king, wants to form his own political party and enter politics, as many have speculated he might, would the Maoists prevent him? Not at all, says Prachanda, whose benevolence extends even to the former monarch: "If he respects the verdict of the masses, he can enjoy all the opportunities open to the common citizen."

It is not quite how the Bolsheviks dealt with the Romanovs, but Nepal has a habit of doing things its own unique way. The country could end up having a Maoist prime minister and a former king as leader of the opposition. Who knows? Perhaps Gyanendra will call his political vehicle the Communist Party of Nepal (Monarchist).

From civil war to democracy

In 1996 the bloody Nepalese civil war began, sparking fighting that went on for 10 years which was believed to have killed at least 13,000 people. The Maoist rebels' multiple demands included land redistribution, equal rights for women and a communist republic.

Based in Nepal's mountains and jungles, the rebel army included both female soldiers as well as children, for which they were condemned in 2005 by the EU. A peace deal was brokered in 2006, with the rebels' arms monitored by the UN, and Prachanda declared that it marked "the end of the 238-year-old feudal system".

Despite the rebels' admiration for Chairman Mao, the Chinese Communist Party had shunned the revolution, choosing to arm the Royal Nepalese Army. Chinese officials are now more eager to forge ties with the Maoists and Prachanda has praised China's pragmatic approach to capitalism.

The Maoists have to convince non-supporters that they have transformed from guerrilla fighters into a working, democratic party. They remain on the US list of terrorist organisations.

Their youth wing, the Young Communist League, has been blamed for abduction and torture. Around 19,000 ex-rebels still live in UN-monitored camps created by Nepal's 2006 peace deal. The Maoists want them to become part of the Nepal army but the its chief disagrees.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maoists, UML say no to key demands of Terai parties

The Maoists and the CPN (UML) have rejected the main demands of Terai-based parties.

Top leaders of the two communist parties met Sunday morning to form a common position on the Terai parties' demand for single Madhesh province and 'group entry' of Madhesis into the army.

UML leader Bhim Rawal, who was present at the meeting held at the Nayabazaar residence of Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', said the two parties have decided to stand against these demands, but they are ready to back all other demands put forward by the Terai-based parties.

Maoist and UML leaders are to hold separate discussions today with Madhesi leaders on how the stalemate in the Constituent Assembly could be resolved.

According to Rawal, the two parties have stressed that the current deadlock should be resolved by means of dialogue.

The Maoist and UML leaders are also known to have discussed the election of the president. The Maoist side has already agreed to give the presidency to the UML, but the name of the presidential candidate is yet to be agreed upon

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Terai parties again obstruct CA proceeding; next CA meeting Sunday afternoon

Terai-based parties obstructed the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly (CA) today as well, demanding that the constitution amendment bill tabled in the CA address the issues raised by them.

The CA's legislative meeting, which started at 6:00 pm, had to be cancelled within minutes as Madhesi CA members came to the rostrum and started chanting slogans.

The CA meeting started seven hours behind schedule with the seven parties engaging in a discussion on the Terai parties' demands that include 'single Madhesh province' and 'group entry' of Madhesis into the army. Next sitting will take place at 2:00 pm Sunday.

The seven parties failed to arrive at a conclusion on these demands, but all of them stated that they were against the 'one Madhesh' demand.

Since Thursday, key SPA leaders had held separate meetings with Madhesi leaders in a bid to convince them to allow smooth functioning of the Assembly. Madhesi leaders, on the other hand, have declared that they will continue to block the Assembly's proceedings unless the demands are met.

The Terai-based parties had obstructed the CA meeting on Thursday, demanding that the government come up with a new amendment bill based on the agreements reached with them in the past.

India will use the Madhesi trump card to create disturbances in Nepal - Comrade Azad of Communist Party of India Maoist

India will use the Madhesi trump card to create disturbances in Nepal if the new regime does not toe its line. Already Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) led by Upendra Yadav has demanded that the Maoists should make their stand clear on the demand for Madhesi autonomy (Ek Madhes Ek Prades) and had asked the Maoists to discontinue their relations with international forums like the RIM and CCOMPOSA.

Both US and India will try by various means to bring the new government to toe their line. They can, for instance, hit at Nepal’s belly—its economy—by paralyzing industrial production,blocking trade and supply lines thereby creating food shortages and shortage of consumer goods; in other words it can squeeze Nepal through an economic blockade.

This it will do if it thinks the new regime is going too far. As it is, the situation in Nepal is already too delicate with almost 10 hours of loadshedding even in capital Kathmandu and a shortage of all essential commodities. Its powerful neighbours can alter the balance through economic blackmail which could lead to growth of social unrest and massive protests against the Maoists. Acute shortage of essential items and rising prices can lead to disenchantment with the fledgling regime and a dip in its popularity thereby giving an opportunity to the discredited parties to re-establish themselves.

Thus the situation in Nepal will remain extremely delicate and unstable even though the Maoists had won an impressive electoral victory. Comrades Prachanda and Bhattarai know this well and hence they have been appealing for India’s cooperation. They had gone on record saying that there will not be stability in Nepal without India’s cooperation. The fact that Nepal is a small country sandwiched between two powerful and big neighbours—India and China—and that it is a target for the US imperialists makes the governance quite a difficult proposition. Hence we should not read too much from the electoral victory of the Maoists in Nepal

Extract from interview with Comrade Azad in Communist Party of India Maoist Bulletin 2

July 2nd mooted has date for the Election of New President

Is Sahana Pradhan the compromise candidate for President ?

SPA meeting over Terai parties' demands inconclusive

The seven-party alliance (SPA) meeting held in Baluwatar ended inconclusively as the allies could not form a common position on the demands of Terai-based parties, ahead of a meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA), on Saturday.

According to UML leader Bhim Rawal who was present at the meeting, parties reiterated their reservation towards the Terai parties' demands, which include guarantee of 'autonomous Terai state' and 'collective entry' of people from Madhesi community into the Nepal Army.

"First of all seven parties need to arrive at a conclusion on these issues and then discuss with the Terai parties," Rawal said after the meeting.

Earlier, leaders of major parties - CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and UML - had said they were against the demand of the Terai parties.

If the parties had arrived at consensus, a cabinet meeting would take place to make changes in the constitution amendment bill brought before the CA by the government, incorporating the issues raised by Terai parties.

Meanwhile, the CA meeting which was to take place at 11:00 am has been rescheduled for the evening. Sources say the SPA leaders have agreed informally to defer the meeting till 4:00 pm.

Terai parties had obstructed the proceedings of the CA on Thursday, gheraoing the rostrum demanding that the agreement reached in the past be incorporated in the interim constitution.

Nepali CPN-Maoist still for non-partisan president

KATHMANDU, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) still sticks to its former stance on proposing a non-partisan person, Ram Raja Prasad Singh, as the next president of the newly born republic, local newspaper The Rising Nepal reported Saturday.

Speaking at a program organized by Himalayan Press Club on Friday, CPN-M leader Post Bahadur Bogati said that his party had not altered its earlier decision of supporting Ram Raja Prasad Singh as president.

Bogati said that discussions on the issue were in progress with other parties and a concrete agreement has not been reached so far.

He said CPN-M chairman Prachanda would be the next Prime Minister only after the election and installation of the president.

At a meeting with the CPN-UML on Friday, CPN-M even urged the former to support Singh for the post.

CPN-UML, however, stuck to its former general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal as the choice for the top post. But CPN-M rejected Nepal's name outright, local newspaper The Kathmandu Post reported.

"We can't agree to Madhav Kumar Nepal's name as the first president," said senior CPN-M leader Mohan Baidya, who was present during the meeting held in the Nepali capital Kathmandu.

He said his party wants an independent personality for president. "We may agree on (CPN-UML leader and the female foreign affairs minister) Sahana Pradhan in the end if there is no consensus on an independent figure," he said.

Friday, June 27, 2008

One Madhesh One Province demand rejected by Maoists and UML

New turbulent politics appears to be in the offing after the resignation tendered by Prime Minsiter Girija Prasad Koirala in Nepal.

In what could be taken as a dramatic decision, the UML and the Maoists, have rejected the Madhesi demands for “One Madhesh-One Province”.

The meeting held between the Maoists-UML today June 27, 2008, held at the Maoists’ Parliamentary Secretariat in Singh Durbar has thus decided to go against the Madhesi demand.

Chairrman Prachanda,talking to the reporters after the meeting said that it was his party that had initially raised the demand for autonomy and self rule but can in no way commit itself for the declaration of the entire Tarai (East-West Plains) as a single Madhesh province as demanded by the Madhesi leaders.

Similarly, the new General Secretary of the United Marxists-Leninists-UML, Mr. Jhal Nath Khanal toed the same line and said, in his own words, “Our party favors various autonomous states but be it known to all and sundry that the UML can’t accept the notion of One Madhesh one Province”.

The Madhesi leaders have so far not made any comments as regards the Maoist's and the UML’s political line but sources say that the Madhesi leadership remains adamant on their previous demands.

In the mean while, the Nepali Congress has said that the Madhesi demands must be met with.

It appears that Koirala has begun playing “Dark chamber politics” which will ultimately put hurdles for the Maoists.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Koirala Resigns but MJF create chaos forcing suspension of CA for 45 minutes

Owing to obstructions by the members of Madhesi parties, the CA meeting has now been rescheduled for Saturday (June 28).

CA meeting suspended after Madhesi party members demand withdrawal of amendment bill

CA meeting suspended after Madhesi party members demand withdrawal of amendment bill

The meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA) was suspended immediately after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala announced his resignation.

Before the Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula could present the bill to introduce fifth amendment of the constitution, members belonging to Madhesi parties created an uproar demanding that the points of agreement reached between the government and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UMDF) in March this year be included in the amendment bill.

"I want to ask why the points of that agreement including the creation of Madhes autonomous province and other provinces and ensuring population-based proportional recruitment of all sections of society in all organs of state are not included in this bill," said Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, leader of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF).

He also warned that the Madhesi members will not allow the passage of the bill without addressing their concerns.

Following his address, scores of members swooped in before the rostrum and chanted slogans forcing the chair of the assembly to suspend it for 45 minutes.

Because of the suspension, the CA could not initiate discussion on the fifth amendment bill - which has provisions for electing president, vice president, prime minister, CA chairman and vice chairman through simple majority. This provision is expected to end the political deadlock and allow the formation of new government through the assembly floor

Koirala resigns at last !

"We are glad he finally did it. We have been demanding his resignation as it had been a stumbling block for the leaders trying to reach consensus," Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara told AFP.

Nepal's PM steps aside, Maoists to lead new republic

KATHMANDU (AFP) — Nepal's veteran prime minister announced his resignation Thursday in a move that paves the way for a new Maoist-led government following the abolition of the monarchy.

The announcement by centrist politician Girija Prasad Koirala, who is 83 and in failing health, resolves a political stalemate over powersharing that followed the declaration of a republic on May 28.

The Maoists have positioned their leader, Prachanda, to replace him as leader of the landlocked Himalayan nation and one of the world's poorest countries.

The prime minister, whose Nepali Congress party was soundly defeated by the Maoists in the polls for the 601-member assembly, called on the CPN Maoists to form the next government.

"I declare I have given up the prime minister's post through this assembly today," Koirala told the recently elected constitutional assembly.

"With me or without me, we all need to maintain the culture of consensus," he said.

"I appeal to them (the Maoists) to garner consensus for the formation of a new government under their leadership," Koirala also said in a statement read out by Ram Chandra Poudel, Nepal's peace minister.

The Maoists and Congress -- Nepal's two main parties -- have been arguing for weeks over who will become the first president and prime minister of the world's youngest republic.

On Wednesday, they reached a deal that the president and prime minister will be elected through the assembly that will draft Nepal's new constitution.

"Now we all must focus on drafting a new constitution by giving up our petty political differences and ending confusion," Poudel said.

Prachanda and second-in-command Baburam Bhattarai joined hundreds of other assembly members showing their approval of Koirala's resignation by banging on the tables in the massive assembly hall.

Nepal's Maoists, who have 220 seats in the assembly, twice as many as Congress but just less than a majority, welcomed the veteran premier's resignation.

"We are glad he finally did it. We have been demanding his resignation as it had been a stumbling block for the leaders trying to reach consensus," Maoist spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara told AFP.

"The resignation is a step towards the formation of the government under our leadership," he said.

Koirala expected to resign today

Prachanda"The agreements today have opened the door to form a new government. We want the constitution amendment to be approved as soon as possible,"

By Phanindra Dahal, Zhang Jianhua

KATHMANDU, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The political deadlock prevailing since the Constituent Assembly (CA) declared Nepal a federal democratic republic on may 28 was broken through on Wednesday.

Firstly, the Nepali cabinet approved the fifth amendment to the Interim Constitution on Wednesday evening.

The amendment will be tabled at the newly-elected Constituent Assembly (CA) on Thursday.

Prior to the cabinet meeting, the Nepali Interim Government's ruling Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) has finalized the agreement to amend the Interim Constitution promulgated on Jan. 15, 2007.

The new points incorporated in the amendment include: The man who is not CA member can be minister in the cabinet; President, vice president and prime minister should be elected through a simple majority but not two-thirds majority, etc.

"The cabinet has approved the bill finalized by the SPA meeting. The government will present it to the CA meeting Thursday," Shyam Sundar Gupta, Nepali Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies told Xinhua after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

For the peace process, the SPA meeting made a 7-point agreement, which required the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) armed force to be integrated in six months, hence the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) tenure is to be extended for six months so as to monitor the arms, and the CPN-M is to return the captured property in 15 days, while its youth branch, the Young Communist League will quit occupied government buildings in 15 days.

"The government has decided to extend the tenure of the UNMIN by six months. The government will write a letter to the United Nations," Shyam Sundar Gupta told Xinhua.

Also, the SPA have agreed Wednesday on the 26 seats distribution among the parties.

According to the Nepali Interim Constitution, the 601-seat Constituent Assembly (CA) includes 575 elected seats and 26 appointed by the Interim Government cabinet. The 575 seats have been elected since April 10, in which the CPN-M emerged as the single largest party with 220 seats, followed by the Nepali Congress (NC) with 110 seats and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) with 103 seats.

"We have agreed on the nomination of 26 members of the Constituent Assembly. The CPN-M will get nine, NC and CPN-UML five each, Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) two and the remaining five for the small parties, including the Sadbhawana Party, the People's Front, Terai Madhesh Democratic Party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) and Nepal Workers and Peasants' Party," Jhal Nath Khanal, CPN-UML General Secretary told reporters.

"Because we have not got the name of CA members to be nominated from the MPRF and TMDP, the meeting couldn't finalize on the name of the 26 CA members. It will be done by Thursday," Shyam Sundar Gupta told Xinhua.

"The agreements today have opened the door to form a new government. We want the constitution amendment to be approved as soon as possible," CPN-M chairman Prachanda said after the meeting.

The first CA meeting on May 28 declared the country the world's youngest republic

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cabinet approves constitutional amendment draft

The meeting of the Council of Ministers, Wednesday evening, has approved the constitutional amendment draft, which was earlier endorsed by the seven parties.

According to Minister for Labour and Transport Management Ramesh Lekhak, the cabinet has adopted the proposal – which would be presented at the meeting of Constituent Assembly (CA) on Thursday.

The amendment includes provision allowing simple majority to form a government, among others.

Meanwhile, the nine parties have decided to divide the 26 members of CA among themselves. Of the 26 CA members – who have to be nominated by the cabinet – the Maoists have bagged nine seats, NC and UML shared five seats each and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum given two seats.

Likewise, five other parties – Sadbhavana Party, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Jana Morcha and CPN-Marxist Leninist – will share one member each

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Break the Deadlock - Extract from article in CPN Maoist Paper Red Star

After the abolition of the monarchy and implementation of the FDR, the class equation of Nepalese society has changed. The antagonism has shifted in the last month. So the progressive force and the representative of the feudal and bureaucratic capitalism - the NC cannot carry on together. The NC and the CPN (Maoist) are at logger heads because of the new antagonism. As this is a transitional period, the NC should understand the situation and not try to create conflict. If the NC really adopts ‘democratic’ norms and values, it must show them in practice.

Their old and meaningless ideology and outlook cannot create a New Nepal. The NC was progressive in comparison with the Ranas and the Shahs, but now the NC has become a status quo force that cannot lead New Nepal. The responsibility of the NC, in this new context, is to help the CPN (Maoist) to lead the country ahead. Jealousy and arrogance does not serve the people but angers them further. If so, the Nepalese people will be obliged to launch the struggle against their rotten and ruinous ideology and practices. Only a movement will be left as an alternative to clear away the obstacles in the way of the country’s progress.

Koirala - Time to go !

KATHMANDU, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Nepali Congress (NC) leader Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat on Monday said Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala may announce his resignation when the process of amending the Interim Constitution begins on Wednesday's Constituent Assembly(CA) meeting, local newspaper The Himalayan Times reported Tuesday.

Visit site of (New) Communist Party of Italy

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However we have recently read some material from a European organisation that shows promise and would like to draw comrades atttention to the (New) Communist Party of Italy which is raising Marxism Leninism Maoism to new heights in analysis on Italy and world wide class struggle.

There is a link on the right at the top of friends and comrades blogroll - take a look !

Maoists and UML to form Government without Nepali Congress

The central secretariat meeting of the CPN Maoist held Tuesday morning concluded that the party will go ahead and form government through the floor of Constituent Assembly (CA) if its last ditch efforts to keep alive the seven party alliance do not bear fruit.

Maoist leaders told reporters after the meeting that they think it is necessary to keep the unity among the seven parties who had worked together for peace process. But it also decided to explore other options if the political deadlock is not broken soon.

After the CPN Maoists joined hands with the UML to back each other's candidate for prime minister and president, respectively, another influential SPA constituent, the Nepali Congress (NC), announced that it would stay in opposition.

The NC, however, has been demanding that a member of opposition is included in the Security Council – a demand that has been flatly rejected by Maoists and UML. The NC has said that it is necessary to have wide-ranging voice in the Council at a time when the country will go through crucial army integration debates.

The CPN Maoists central secretariat meeting has decided to make another effort for consensus in the seven party meet to be held later today at parliament secretariat, for solution of the current political deadlock.

Senior CPN Maoist leader Mohan Baidya said that his party's flexibility will be based on the conditions other parties put forward during the meeting.

Another CPN Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai said the party would table the bill to amend the interim constitution during Wednesday's session of the constituent assembly if the government fails to bring one.

Party spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara said they would go to people for final decision if Nepali Congress continues to obstruct the process for forming a new government under their leadership.

The central secretariat meeting was called after the party reached understanding with second largest communist party UML in a bid to oust Nepali Congress and form new government possibly excluding that party

Monday, June 23, 2008

UML-Maoists come closer; agree to move ahead together

In what is seen as an indication of increasing bitterness among the seven party constituents, the two alliance partners Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) and Maoists have agreed to move ahead together agreeing to ditch Nepali Congress (NC) in the process, if need be.

At the bilateral meeting of the two largest communist parties, Monday evening, both stressed the need to continue the politics of understanding among seven parties. But they also added a caveat. If the NC does not come to understanding, they will move ahead on their own, the two parties concluded.

A day after the seven party meeting ended inconclusively and without fixing a new date, the UML and Maoists held bilateral meeting in Singhdurbar parliamentary office of UML.

The 'closed door meeting' was participated by Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda,' senior leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and UML general secretary Jhala Nath Khanal, among other senior leaders of both the parties.

The two parties have also agreed to reject the NC's demand for inclusion of opposition leader in the Security Council. "There is no tradition in democratic countries elsewhere of inducting opposition leader in security council," Khanal said.

He, however, added that issues of power-sharing should not trigger polarisation. "It is no time to have political polarisation," he said.

Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai also blamed NC for the deadlock. "If the NC does not clear the way for the formation of next government, we will have to find an alternative way. The alternative way means everything will be settled through the Constituent Assembly," he said.

After reports that UML and Maoists had agreed to back each other's candidates for the position of president and prime minister, respectively, the NC had indicated it would stay in opposition.

The New Antagonism and Security Council

The seven party meeting held in Baluwatar, Sunday, ended inconclusively, after NC’s demand for including a member of opposition in the make-up of security council was turned down by the Maoists.

This reflects this new antagonism at the political level which is examined in article below from CPN Maoist Paper Red Star.

General Rookmangad Katawal and Koirala

PM Koirala confers with army chief

With CPN (Maoist) party now out of the government to apply pressure from the Constituent Assembly for the formation of a new government, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Monday held consultations with Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Rookmangad Katawal.

The meeting between PM Koirala, who also holds the defense portfolio, and COAS Katawal comes a day after CPN (Maoist) party decided to launch "people's struggle" for change of guard after the meeting of the seven political parties failed to reach consensus over the structure of Security Council, including a few issues on army integration.

Although it was said that the security related issues featured very highly during the meeting between the two that took place at Baluwatar, Katawal is learnt to have expressed his concern over the problem(s) that might crop up in the issue of army integration in the absence of Koirala.

PM Koirala has increased his meetings with army chief Katawal of late, especially after the possibility of him getting the post of president started to look very slim.

According to latest amendment in the interim constitution, the Nepali Army would remain under the control of president.

Only last Friday General Katawal had met PM Koirala at the latter's official residence when major left parties were holding talks to build an alliance so as not to allow Koirala to become the first president of the country. ag June 23 08

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thanks to Mike Ely of Kasama for pointing out the importance of this Editorial in Red Star in understanding current events in Nepal

The New Antagonism from CPN Maoist Paper - Red Star

EDITORIAL: The New Antagonism

The implementation of the Republic and the abolition of the monarchy have brought great changes to this country. The change in the ideological superstructure of the nation, mainly in the government, can be seen clearly. The removal of the monarchy as a political force has changed the antagonism in Nepali politics.

After the abolition of the monarchy, the three way antagonism or contradiction between the progressive, the parliamentary and the royalist forces has now changed into a dualistic antagonism. However, this doesn’t mean that feudalism has ended completely; rather, the struggle has changed form. In the new form of the antagonism, the representatives of feudalism have also taken a new guise. Therefore, the struggle must continue against feudalism even though the monarchy has ended. Let us be clear, the class composition of the politics of the country has changed; the vestiges of feudalism are now represented by the extreme reactionary wing of the bourgeoisie, the comprador-bureaucra tic capitalists. Therefore, the progressive forces must unite against the new representatives of feudalism; the comprador capitalists. The struggle between the CPN-Maoist and the parliamentary parties, mainly the Nepali Congress, represents this struggle at the political level.

Feudalism has not eradicated entirely, and the Federal Democratic Republic has not been implemented fully. This type of transitional period is extremely sensitive and critical. The change in contradiction may seem confusing. But this is a period of polarization.

Agreement, understanding and working with the bourgeoisie is proving very difficult. Because of the changing political situation, the extreme reactionary right will fight against the interests of the masses. Why? Quite simply, the people will continue the campaign to abolishing feudalism. After the political victory, there must be economic progress and socio-cultural transformation. This type of progressive transformation is against the extreme reactionary bourgeois interests. So, it is necessary to work with the progressive liberal bourgeoisie to struggle against the extremist bourgeois reactionaries. In the present context of Nepal, the struggle against the extreme bourgeois reactionaries is the struggle against the last vestiges of feudalism and the comprador- bureaucratic capitalists.

Nepali political parties trading accusations for impasse

By Phanindra Dahal, Zhang Jianhua

KATHMANDU, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The new republic Nepal continues to confront a bitter political deadlock and a blame game after the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) decided to quit the government.

The political parties are still yet to name the first president of the world's youngest republic. And they have also failed to nominate 26 members by the cabinet to make the full representation in the 601-member Constitutional Assembly (CA).

The political parties are facing strong criticism for prolonging the political tensions after the CA elections were held on April 10. Due to the deadlock, the meeting of the newly elected CA was adjourned for indefinite period last Wednesday.

The CPN-M, which emerged as the largest party in the newly elected Constituent Assembly (CA) pulled out from the government on Friday, accusing Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala of refusing to step down to make ways for the formation of a new government.

"Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has refused to resign even after his party Nepali Congress (NC) was defeated in the election. His lust for the power and his desire to be the first president is the major stumbling block to reach an agreement," CPN-M leader Mohan Baidhya told Xinhua Sunday.

"If Koirala steps down allowing us to form a new government, the political process will come in track," he added.

However, Prime Minister Koirala's party Nepali Congress has blamed the CPN-M for creating the political impasse.

"The prime minister is ready to resign and make a way out for forming the new government. But we have to follow a constitutional process to do that," Nepali Congress spokesperson Arjun Narshing KC told Xinhua on Sunday.

"After we make amendment in the constitution, he'll resign immediately," the spokesperson said, "Instead of cultivating atmosphere for consensus, the CPN-M are forming alliance with left parties to share the post of Prime Minister and President so there is a deadlock."

The understanding between CPN-M and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) to support president for CPN-UML and Prime Minister for CPN-M has even raised question for the unity of the Interim Government's ruling Seven-Party Alliance in the new government.

But the left leaders say that the NC should not stay in opposition in the new government.

"We have promised the people to maintain unity in drafting the new constitution. No one from the ruling alliance should stay in opposition," CPN-UML leader Amrit Kumar Bohara told Xinhua on Sunday.

"We are trying to seek equitable power sharing for forming the new government so such circumstance won't come," he added.

The political parties have intensified their meetings and leaders have claimed that they are close to deal on other issues apart from power sharing.

"We are close to deal on issues of constitution amendment, management of CPN-M army and implementation of past agreements. However, it will still take some days to build consensus on power sharing and forming a new government," Nepali congress spokesperson KC told Xinhua.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sahana Pradhan proposed by CPN Maoist for President and not by CP UML

Sahana Pradhan proposed by CPN Maoist for President and not by CP UML

Speaking at the Reporters' Club Saturday, senior Maoist leader Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' said his party has not confirmed support for UML's candidate for the post of president.

He said two names – Madhav Kumar Nepal and Sahana Pradhan – were floated during the discussion and the two parties have not finalised who would be the president. However, Baidya said they are ‘closer’ on a deal on power sharing.

Claiming that national sovereignty is at stake due to continued political turmoil, Baidya reiterated his party's stand not to act on foreigners' interests.

However, speaking at the same programme, UML leader Bam Dev Gautam said they have finalised the deal to elect former UML general secretary Nepal as the first president of the republic of Nepal.

Gautam questioned Sahana's candidature saying she has not been proposed by UML but by the Maoist leaders.

Madhesi Janadhikar Forum chairman Upendra Yadav, who had been saying his party would not join the new government, hinted at revising the decision. He urged Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to immediately resign from the post and pave way to end the current political deadlock

Comrade Guarav to speak in London on 4th July

Friday 4th July, 7pm Venue: Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London(Holborn underground)Massive changes are taking place in Nepal as a republic is established under the leadership of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Come and listen to a senior revolutionary figure in Nepal speak on the current political situation. Comrade Gaurav is in charge of the CPN(M) International Bueau. Nepali Samaj and the World People's Resistance Movement (Britain) invite you to participate in our public meetings to talk to comrade Gaurav directly about advances of the revolution in Nepal.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nepal's CPN-M ministers resign

KATHMANDU, June 20 (Xinhua) -- The ministers belonging to Nepal's Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) Friday evening tendered their joint resignation after a ruling seven-party meeting failed to reach a consensus on power-sharing.

Local leading news website THT Online quoted senior CPN-M leader and minister for Local Development Dev Gurung as saying that Chairman Prachanda has submitted the CPN-M ministers' resignation papers to Prime Minister Koirala.

"We (CPN-M ministers) will formally submit our resignation at the Prime Minister's office tomorrow," he said.

Dev Gurung told reporters after the meeting of the ruling Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) "Our party has time and again required Prime Minister to resign and pave way for the new government, but he did not accept our demands so we were compelled to resign ourselves."

"Now we will not return to the Interim Government again," Dev Gurung said, "but, the CPN-M will continue to work together among SPA. We have declared the resignation after the SPA meeting failed to reach consensus on power sharing."

The Interim Government was formed in last April after the Comprehensive Peace Accord was signed between the then government and the CPN-M to end the decade-long civil war in November, 2006.

CPN-M has become the single largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA), with 220 seats won in the CA elections on April 10,which is more than the total of the second Nepali Congress (NC) and the third largest party the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist- Leninist) (CPN-UML) in CA.

"Months have already passed since the elections was held, but the CPN-M is not getting the chance to form the new government, so we think a serious political conspiracy is done against us," Dev Gurung said.

Before the SPA meeting, a taskforce of the three major parties had discussed the contentious issues, including Interim Constitution amendment, integrating CPN-M combatants into the Nepal Army and return of the confiscated properties. However, they failed to break the deadlock over power-sharing and presidential post after weeks of parleys.

All the CPN-M ministers handed resignation letters to Party Chairman Prachanda on June 12.

There are five ministers and two state ministers from CPN-M in the Interim Government: Minister for Information and Communications Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Minister for Local Development Dev Gurung, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Matrika Yadav, Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hisila Yamim, Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Pampha Bhusal, Minister of State for Physical Planning and Works Padam Rai, Minister of State for Local Development Nabin Kumar B.K.

Understanding between CPN Maoist and CP UML ?

Nepal News reports that senior leaders of Maoists and the Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) held meeting, Friday morning, where they reached an initial understanding to back each other's candidate for the positions of executive prime minister and president, respectively.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Koirala ready to step down; hints NC won't be part of next govt

With the Maoists and the UML refusing to back his presidential bid, Prime Minister and Nepali Congress (NC) president Girija Prasad Koirala has hinted that the NC would not be part of the next government.

Is CPN-Maoist, the single largest party in the Constituent Assembly ready to back Sahana Pradhan, of CP UML for President and break deadlock ?

Nepali parties reach consensus on statute amendment, army merger

KATHMANDU, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Nepal's three largest political parties Thursday reached consensus on army integration and amendment to the Interim Constitution, but their differences over power sharing remain.

According to local leading news website Nepal, the agreement was reached at a meeting of top leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M), Nepali Congress (NC) and The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML), held at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's official residence in Baluwatar Thursday morning.

The proposed amendment to the Interim Constitution will allow a government to be formed (or dismantled) with simple majority as against the previous two thirds majority provision required for it, and it is likely to be tabled at the Constituent Assembly meeting on Friday.

The three parties had already agreed to form a special committee to prepare a framework for integrating Nepal Army and the People's Liberation Army, CPN-M armed force, during their meeting on Wednesday and finalized the deal in Thursday's meeting.

As per the agreement, individual members of the CPN-M's PLA will be inducted into the Nepal Army after they go through standard competition while others will be given choices like vocational training and foreign employment.

Senior CPN-M leader Ram Bahadur Thapa confirmed that the three parties have reached an understanding on these issues and that there will be further consultation and negotiation on power sharing, return of confiscated property including other issues during the seven-party meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the three parties are still divided over the issue of power sharing with the Nepali Congress still sticking with its proposal to make Girija Prasad Koirala as the first president of republican Nepal.

Sources said that CPN-M, the single largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA), is ready to back Sahana Pradhan, minister of foreign affairs from CPN-UML, as presidential candidate and is set to seek support from other parties for her candidacy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Russian Maoist Party sends message of support to CPN Maoist - The Spirit of Lenin

Democracy and Class Struggle welcome this statement of the Russian Communist Party Maoist which breaks from the sectarianism of the MIM and its oppostion to the CPN Maoist.

Read the statement below and visit their site which is at top of friends and comrades sites
June 18, 2008

Dear Comrades!

The Russian Maoist Party (RMP) salutes the excellent and glorious
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and its leader, Chairman Prachanda,
personally, sends you our fraternal greetings and extends to you,
comrades, our warmest and sincerest congratulations on your
well-deserved landslide electoral victory in the Constituent Assembly
of your country. Apart from being a beacon for revolutionary and
progressive forces worldwide with the splendid example of the People’s
War in Nepal and the daring theoretical contributions of Prachanda
Path, your Party is also, in our opinion, the only solution
domestically, the only political force capable of solving the very
complicated problems faced by the peoples of your multinational
country in a genuinely democratic fashion that would benefit the vast
majority of the Nepalese masses and help them make serious strides
along the path of class, national, regional and gender liberation.

We of the Russian Maoist Party have been closely following the
progress of the People’s War in Nepal, as well as the masterly conduct
of affairs by your Party in the mainstream political arena, looking
upon these dramatic developments with great hope and sympathy for the
cause of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism-Prachanda Path, doing our best to
disseminate news of the Nepalese revolution among the post-Soviet
progressive public. We have also been paying serious attention to your
theoretical contributions, reading and discussing your Party magazine,
The Worker, and other CPN(M) documents we could lay our hands on,
whereas one of our comrades has prepared a Russian translation of the
brilliant disquisition by Comrade Baburam Bhattarai, Politico-Economic
Rationale of People’s War in Nepal. We consider your recent victory as
a triumph for ourselves also, as a triumph for
Marxist-Leninist- Maoists, revolutionaries, progressives and democrats

Obviously, the electoral victory by the CPN(M) and the abolition of
the feudal monarchy is by no means the end, but only the beginning of
a long and arduous struggle for the genuine democratization of Nepal,
for the genuine equality of its inhabitants — and ultimately for
socialism. As Chairman Mao said, “the future is bright; the road is
tortuous.” Yet already now it is clear that the recent achievements of
the Nepalese masses under the leadership of your Party are a
tremendous step forward in revolutionary development and a resounding
blow landed against domestic reaction and world imperialism.

The inane and sterile attacks against the line and policy of the CPN(M)
by some so-called “Leftists” and even people calling themselves “Maoists”
around the world do not serve the interests of the proletariat and the
oppressed; such people have forfeited the right to call themselves
Maoist or revolutionary.

The RMP bids you accept our assurances of our complete solidarity with
your struggle, with your theoretical and practical line. We are
unequivocally on your side.

We hope that there will be fruitful dialogue and collaboration between
our two organizations. We will try to do our best to help the CPN(M)’s
struggle in every way possible: through information channels, through
translations, through various forms of international solidarity, etc.,
etc. We would be happy to inform you of the struggles of the workers
and oppressed peoples and other political developments in the ex-USSR.
Also, we are most desirous of learning from you theoretically, of
gaining a deeper insight into Prachanda Path, one of the crowning
achievements of 21st-century Marxism.

Marksvad-Leninvad- Maovad ra Prachand-Path jindabad!


Chairman and International Secretary,
Russian Maoist Party

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Protracted Negotiations on New Maoist Led Government by CPN Maoist

KATHMANDU: The meeting of top leaders of the three major parties ended inconclusively after they failed to agree on a power sharing formula

KATHMANDU: The meeting of top leaders of the three major parties ended inconclusively after they failed to agree on a power sharing formula.

The parties still disagree on, among other things, who should become the first president of this new republic.

The Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) have staked claim for the post.

But the Maoists have argued that the post should go to a non-political figure or a leader of a fringe party “to avoid creation of a parallel power centre.”

Despite the persistent disagreement, the parties have agreed to meet again on Wednesday.

“We will meet tomorrow morning and try to hammer out an agreement,” said Baburam Bhattarai, senior Maoist leader.
The parties have, however, made some significant progress on two other major issues —amendment to the interim Constitution and integration of the Maoist combatants.

“There is a near consensus on these issues and the three-party task force will try to finalise a deal and present it before the top leaders tomorrow,” said Minendra Rijal, leader of the Nepali Congress.

The Maoists had earlier said that they would pull out of the government if there was no consensus by Tuesday evening.

No breakthrough in three-party talks

The meeting of the three major parties - CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (UML) - held in Baluwatar Tuesday evening has ended inconclusively.

According to Maoist leader Mohan Baidya 'Kiran', power sharing, selection of the president and army integration were the main sticking points in today's discussion, which the leaders had earlier claimed would be decisive. He said the CPN (M) reiterated its stance on those issues while NC leaders refused to soften their position vis-à-vis their seven
'preconditions' [for alliance with the Maoists].

The three parties have agreed to again meet in Baluwatar at 8:00 am tomorrow, ahead of the meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA).

Baidya said his party would wait until tomorrow's meeting before deciding whether to quit the government.

Prime Minister and NC president Girija Prasad Koirala, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and UML general secretary Jhal Nath Khanal participated in the meeting. Other participants included senior Maoist leaders Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Mohan Baidya and Ram Bahadur Thapa 'Badal', UML's Amrit Kumar Bohara and NC leaders Ram Chandra Poudel and Krishna Situala.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Maoist chairman meets Koirala

Hours after an inconclusive meeting of the three major parties, Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has met Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in Baluwatar Monday evening.

Though no decision was reached at the meeting, the two leaders are said to have stressed that the three parties - CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) - should arrive at an understanding on key issues like power sharing, election of the president and army integration.

Senior Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Home Minister Krishna Situala were also present at the meeting.

Earlier in the afternoon, the three-party meeting had ended inclusively, but the leaders agreed to find ways to resolve the current deadlock in Tuesday's meeting

Three parties fail to reach consensus

The meeting of the three parties held in Baluwatar Monday morning failed to arrive at a consensus on power-sharing and other disputed issues.

The meeting ended without any agreement on issues like formation of the government, election of the president, integration between the Nepal Army and People's Liberation Army of the Maoists, formation of constitutional and security councils and return of the properties seized by the Maoists during the insurgency.

Nepali Congress and Maoist leaders voiced sharp differences over the issue
of army integration, with the NC demanding clear understanding on the issue immediately while Maoist leaders said the issue could be resolve later according to peace agreement.

The discussion has been postponed for Tuesday morning citing absence of UML general secretary Jhala Nath Khanal, who is currently outside the Valley.

After failing to find the points of consensus, the three-party taskforce had forwarded the matter to top level for discussion.

With approaching deadline that parties had given to reach an agreement, the top three have intensified intra-party discussions. The parties said they would find a way out by Wednesday, the day Constituent Assembly would meet for the fourth time

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nepal leader eager to visit China

By Jiao Xiaoyang (China Daily)

KATHMANDU -- Nepal's Maoist leader Prachanda said Thursday he hopes to visit China soon and seek inspiration in Chairman Mao's hometown Shaoshan.

"I am very eager to visit China," the chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) told China Daily at his residence.

"When our communication minister was there (in China) he was instructed to prepare for my visit. I hope I will soon be in Beijing," Prachanda said, referring to Maoist senior leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara's low-profile visit to Beijing earlier this month.

"I want to go to Chairman Mao's village and home to get some more inspiration by seeing and feeling."

The CPN (Maoist), which waged a decade-long armed struggle before signing a peace deal in 2006, emerged as the largest party in the April elections for the Constituent Assembly. The assembly declared an end to Nepal's 240-year-old Shah dynasty a fortnight ago, and is working on a new constitution and the formation of the government.

Prachanda is widely tipped to be prime minister in the new government.

He said his country will maintain "equidistance" between China and India - the Himalayan country's only two neighbors - while seeking rapprochement with Washington, making it clear the new Nepal will not be driven by ideology in foreign relations.

"Equidistance means not siding with one country against another. My exact meaning of equidistance is to have good relations with both the neighbors," he said.

India's new ambassador to Nepal, Rakesh Sood, recently had high-profile parleys with top leaders in Kathmandu and discussed thorny issues such as power sharing among political parties in Nepal. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last month that New Delhi supports Nepal's "democratic experiment".

When it comes to foreign relations, ideology will "not be a barrier", said Prachanda. "We are eager to have diplomatic relations with countries which do not share our ideology."

He expressed cautious optimism on relations with the US, which still has the Maoist group on its terrorist blacklist.

"Some discussions are going on with the ambassador of the US and the last time I met one of the ministers of the United States they said that they are going to change the previous policy but it will take some time," said Prachanda.

"They said that they will continue with joint projects in Nepal, other economic aid will continue. There will not be any change even when we lead the government."

Tibetan secessionists

Prachanda said the new government will take "strong measures" against anti-China activities in his country.

Over the past few weeks, Tibetan secessionists have protested almost daily in front of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. They are usually detained by police and soon released, only to repeat the story the next day.

"When we lead the government, we will change the situation," said Prachanda.

He said Nepal's new government will discuss with India the open border, which enables Tibetan demonstrators to come to Kathmandu from Dharmashala, the Dalai Lama's base in India.

"We will not tolerate anti-China activities on our soil and we will take strong administrative measures to control these activities," he said.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has informed that process to form the new government would begin in the next three days, radio reports say.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has informed that process to form the new government would begin in the next three days, radio reports say.

During his meeting with Swiss envoy to Nepal Dr. Dominique Dreyer Friday morning, PM Koirala informed that parties are approaching consensus on the formation of government to end the current deadlock.

The Swiss diplomat expressed his interest to extend technical support in the process for the establishment of federation in Nepal based on the experiences of his country.

Dr Dreyer held consultations over the current political situation of Nepal and relation between Nepal and Switzerland during the meeting.

Coalition government by June 18: Minister Gurung

Minister for Local Development Dev Gurung has clarified that the Maoist ministers in the cabinet had tendered their resignation before the party leadership to "accelerate the process of formation of a new government and bring an end to the current transitional period" and said that it shouldn't be viewed otherwise.

Minister Gurung, who reached Beni district headquarters in Myagdi to inaugurate the opening of the district council of the District Development Committee (DDC), also told journalists that he was sure a new coalition government would be formed by June 18.

"We would try to form a coalition government by June 18, but if we don't reach an agreement on it then the Maoists would go on to form a government of its own. But if even that doesn't happen then the Maoists would opt out of the government and would assist the Constituent Assembly and the government from outside," he said in plain terms.

Similarly, in a meeting with Maoist party cadres in the district early this morning, Minister Gurung said that party workers should exercise restraint and patience in the changed scenario of the country, asking them to engage in the party politics by not worrying too much about the transitional period in the country which he hoped would soon end.

On Thursday, Maoist Ministers had announced their resignation from the Koirala-led government and forwarded their joint resignation letter to party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Although they said that they had offered their resignation to pave the way for formation of a new government, it was viewed by many as a tactic to apply pressure on the prime minister to agree on the composition of the government as well as the time when the government will be formed. Meanwhile, the Maoist party leadership has put off its plans to submit the resignation letter to PM Koirala for the time being, saying that it is engaged in homework to form a new government.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Five CPN Maoist Ministers Resign from Government

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Officials say all five ministers from the Nepal's main communist party have quit the interim Cabinet.

Women and Social Welfare Minister Pampha Bhusal says the five ministers from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) handed their resignations to the party's chief to be delivered to the prime minister on Thursday.

The Maoists emerged as the largest political party in the election in April and were expected to lead the new government

NC, Maoists close to reaching agreement on govt formation

A day after dethroned monarch Gyanendra Shah left Narayanhiti palace abiding by the government's orders, the political climate in the country seems to be getting back to normal.

Reports just coming in say that Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and CPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) are close to reaching a tentative agreement on letting a new government take shape in two days time, ending a protracted dispute that has long held Maoists take the reigns of the government.

During the meeting that is still going on between the top leaders of Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoists) at the Prime Minister's official residence in Baluwatar since early today morning, there was also discussion on the issues the three party task force had not been able finalize, it is learnt.

Army integration, restructuring of constitutional and security council, and the issue of power sharing is also being discussed during the talks, reports said. However, more details of the crucial meeting are yet to arrive.

This one-to-one meeting between PM Koirala and Chairman Prachanda had been long due as the two leaders fell back on the issue of power sharing and whom to appoint as the first President of a republican Nepal. While the Maoists have given up their claim for the president and are happy to just lead the new government with their party Chairman Prachanda taking up the responsibility of prime minister, Nepali Congress (NC) has proposed their party president PM Koirala for the post of the President, against Maoists wish of seeing a 'national figure' or a person from non-political civil society background to assume the responsibility of Head of State.

Regulars like Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and senior Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai including other senior leaders from both the parties are said to be present in the meeting.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Prez, VP, PM election by simple majority

KATHMANDU, June 10 - The three-party joint panel formed to prepare a draft statute amendment and suggest ways to enforce past peace accords has reached consensus on a simple majority provision for election of president, vice-president and prime minister.

The panel that met at the peace ministry Monday decided to recommend to top leaders to amendment of the Interim Constitution and provision of separate clauses concerning election of the president and vice-president through simple majority.

The panel also decided that the president and vice president can be removed only through impeachment by a two-third majority in the Constituent Assembly. However, the appointment and ouster of the prime minister will require just a simple majority of CA members," said Khim Lal Devkota, a Maoist representative in the panel.

With Maoist backing Ram Raja emerges as strong presidential hopeful

The Maoists are all set to propose Ram Raja Prasad Singh, a veteran pro-republic leader, as the presidential candidate.

"It's time we gave due recognition to Ram Raja Prasad Singh's contribution to the republican movement," Maoist leader Netra Bikram Chand said, "Our party has kept his name in the priority [as presidential candidate]."

Speaking at the Reporters Club Monday, Chanda said UML's Sahana Pradhan, communist leader Nara Bahadur Karmacharya and civil society figures Padma Ratna Tuladhar and Dr Devendra Raj Pandey could be proposed as 'alternative candidates' for the top post.

The Maoist leader also made it clear that his party would in no way accept Girija Prasad Koirala as president. He also accused the Nepali Congress of trying to establish parallel power centres by proposing Koirala for the president's post.

Eyes on the Maobadi: 4 Reasons Nepal ’s Revolution Matters

Something remarkable is happening. A whole generation of people has never seen a radical, secular, revolutionary movement rise with popular support. And yet here it is – in Nepal today.

This movement has overthrown Nepal ’s hated King Gyanendra and abolished the medieval monarchy. It has created a revolutionary army that now squares off with the old King’s army. It has built parallel political power in remote rural areas over a decade of guerrilla war – undermining feudal traditions like the caste system. It has gathered broad popular support and emerged as the leading force of an unprecedented Constituent Assembly (CA). And it has done all this under the radical banner of Maoist communism -- advocating a fresh attempt at socialism and a classless society around the world.

People in Nepal call these revolutionaries the Maobadi.

Another remarkable thing is the silence surrounding all this. There has been very little reporting about the intense moments now unfolding in Nepal , or about the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) that stand at their center. Meanwhile, the nearby Tibetan uprisings against abuses by China ’s government got non-stop coverage..

There are obvious reasons for this silence. The Western media isn’t thrilled when people in one of the world’s poorest countries throw their support behind one of the world’s most radical movements.

But clearly many alternative news sources don’t quite know what to make of the Nepali revolution. The Maobadi’s mix of communist goals and non-dogmatic methods disturb a lot of leftist assumptions too. When the CPN(Maoist) launched an armed uprising in 1996, some people thought these were outdated tactics. When the CPN(Maoist) suspended armed combat in 2006 and entered an anti-monarchist coalition government, some people assumed they would lose their identity to a corrupt cabal. When the Maoists press their current anti-feudal program, some people think they are forgetting about socialism.

But silent skepticism is a wrong approach. The world needs to be watching Nepal . The stunning Maoist victory in the April elections was not, yet, the decisive victory over conservative forces.. The Maobadi are at the center of the political staqe but they have not yet defeated or dismantled the old government’s army. New tests of strength lie ahead.

The Maoists of Nepal aren’t just a opposition movement any more – they are tackling the very different problems of leading a society through a process of radical change. They are maneuvering hard to avoid a sudden crushing defeat at the hands of powerful armies. As a result, the Maobadi of Nepal are carrying out tactics for isolating their internal rivals, broadening their appeal, and neutralizing external enemies.

All this looks bewildering seen up close. This world has been through a long, heartless stretch without much radicalism or revolution. Most people have never seen what it looks like when a popular communist revolution reaches for power.

Let’s break the silence by listing four reasons for looking closely at Nepal .

Reason #1: Here are communists who have discarded rigid thinking, but not their radicalism.

Leaders of the CPN(Maoist) say they protect the living revolution “from the revolutionary phrases we used to memorize.”

The Maobadi took a fresh and painstakingly detailed look at their society. They identified which conditions and forces imposed the horrific poverty on the people. They developed creative methods for connecting deeply with the discontent and highest hopes of people. They have generated great and growing influence over the last fifteen years.

To get to the brink of power, this movement fused and alternated different forms of struggle. They started with a great organizing drive, followed by launching a guerrilla war in 1996, and then entering negotiations in 2006. They created new revolutionary governments in remote base areas over ten years, and followed up with a political offensive to win over new urban support. They have won victory in the special election in April, and challenged their foot-dragging opponents by threatening to launching mass mobilizations in the period ahead. They reached out broadly, without abandoning their armed forces or their independent course.

The Maobadi say they have the courage “to climb the unexplored mountain.” They insist that communism needs to be reconceived. They believe popular accountability may prevent the emergence of arrogant new elites. They reject the one-party state and call for a socialist process with multi-party elections. They question whether a standing army will serve a new Nepal well, and advocate a system of popular militias. And they want to avoid concentrating their hopes in one or two leaders-for-life, but instead will empower a rising new generation of revolutionary successors.

Nepal is in that bottom tier of countries called the “fourth world” – most people there suffer in utter poverty. It is a world away from the developed West, and naturally the political solutions of the Nepali Maoists’ may not apply directly to countries like the U.S. or Britain . But can’t we learn from the freshness they bring to this changing world?

Will their reconception of communism succeed? It is still impossible to know. But their attempt itself already has much to teach.

Reason #2: Imagine Nepal as a Fuse Igniting India

Nepal is such a marginalized backwater that it is hard to imagine its politics having impact outside its own borders. The country is poor, landlocked, remote and only the size of Arkansas . Its 30 million people live pressed between the world’s most populous giants, China and India .

But then consider what Nepal ’s revolution might mean for a billion people in nearby India .

A new Nepal would have a long open border with some of India ’s most impoverished areas. Maoist armed struggle has smoldered in those northern Indian states for decades – with roots among Indian dirt farmers. Conservative analysts sometimes speak of a “red corridor” of Maoist-Naxalite guerrilla zones running through central India , north to south, from the Nepali border toward the southern tip.

Understanding the possibilities, Nepal ’s Maobadi made a bold proposal: that the revolutionary movements across South Asia should consider merging their countries after overthrowing their governments and creating a common regional federation. The Maobadi helped form the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organizations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) in 2001, which brought together ten different revolutionary groupings from throughout the region.

A future revolutionary government in Nepal will have a hard time surviving alongside a hostile India . It could face demands, crippling embargos and perhaps even invasion. But at the very same time, such a revolution could serve as an inspiration and a base area for revolution in that whole region. It could impact the world.

Reason #3: Nepal shows that a new, radically better world is possible.

Marx once remarked that the revolution burrows unseen underground and then bursts into view to cheers of “Well dug, old mole!”

We have all been told that radical social change is impossible. Rebellion against this dominant world order has often seemed marked by backward-looking politics, xenophobia, lowered sights and Jihadism. And yet, here comes that old mole popping up in Nepal -- offering a startling glimpse of how people can transform themselves and their world.

Some of the world’s poorest and most oppressed people have set out in the Nepali highlands to remake everything around them -- through armed struggle, political power, and collective labor. Farming people, who are often half-starved and illiterate have formed peoples courts and early agricultural communes. Wife beating and child marriage are being challenged. Young men and women have joined the revolutionary army to defeat their oppressors. There is defiance of arranged marriage and a blossoming of “love matches,” even between people of different castes. There is a rejection of religious bigotry and the traditions of a Hindu monarchy. The 40 ethnic groups of Nepal are negotiating new relations based on equality and a sharing of political power.

All this is like a wonderful scent upon the wind. You are afraid to turn away, unless it might suddenly disappear.

Reason #4: When people dare to make revolution – they should not stand alone.

These changes would have been unthinkable, if the CPN(Maoist) had not dared to launch a revolutionary war in 1996. And their political plan became reality because growing numbers of people dared to throw their lives into the effort. It is hard to exaggerate the hope and courage that has gripped people.

Events may ultimately roll against those hopes. This revolution in Nepal may yet be crushed or even betrayed from within. Such dangers are inherent and inevitable in living revolutions.

If the Maobadi pursue new leaps in their revolutionary process, they will likely face continuing attacks from India , backed by the U.S.. The CPN(Maoist) has long been (falsely!) labeled “terrorists” by the U.S. government. They are portrayed as village bullies and exploiters of child-soldiers by some human rights organizations. Western powers have armed Nepal ’s pro-royal National army with modern weapons. A conservative mass movement in Nepal ’s fertile Terai agricultural area has been encouraged by India and Hindu fundamentalists.

Someone needs to spread the word of what is actually going on. It would be intolerable if U.S.-backed destabilization and suppression went unopposed in the U.S. itself.

Here it is: A little-known revolution in Nepal .

Who will we tell about it? What will we learn from it? What will we do about it?

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Mike Ely is part of the Kasama Project ( and has helped create the new Revolution in South Asia ( ) resource. Mike’s email is m1keely (at)