Election day has passed and while the results will be some days in counting the media, uniformly is reporting the whole affair as a great success with a 'record turnout' of around 70%. It is they claimed a triumph for democracy that the people have voted in defiance of the boycotters and have instead expressed their faith in democracy.
In fact the alleged 70% turnout figure so instantly
trumpeted - is a sleight of hand which will be used to mandate a constitution
already written in New Delhi. By way of rebuttal; if you move from the % game
to the actual numbers voting - it is a different story. Consider the 2008 CA
election had 17.6 million registered voters of whom 63.29% cast a vote totaling
11, 13376. With rigging and exclusion this time the number of registered voters
was reduced to 12.21 million - 5.39 million approx a third less. With the as
yet ball-park claim of 70% turnout this produces a figure of 8.547000 million
voters. Over 2.5 million down and applying the 2008 figures this would give
roughly a 48 % turnout. When you consider that this is the most rigged election
yet in a country with a deeply and brazenly corrupt establishment that has
spent over Rs 50 billion (this is without counting the huge amounts of 'black
money' spent by the big parties actually buying voters) as compared to the
modest Rs 4 billion for 2008 only further demonstrates the zero credibility of
In the wider picture the figure of 8.5 million votes approximately out a total population of 30 million approximately with an average age of 21 does not look impressive. There is also a staggering 5 million plus Nepalese working also who are presumably excluded. Would they vote for a system that condemns them to work in slavery abroad rather than one which provides work in freedom at home? Their remittances' make up 25% of national income, so there is a direct pecuniary benefit to the status quo in seeing that Nepal remains a source of cheap labour for international capitalist interests.
There is a possibility that, using the flawed figures from this charade as a mandate, the regime will pursue further repression; beginning with those already in custody. As they have ruled that the Party, as legal entity, is responsible for all the violence they may declare it a 'criminal organisation' to be disbanded and the leaders arrested. Chairman Kiran has acknowledged this and said he is quite prepared to face prison - again. But any triumphalist posturings should be muted by the fact that even on their own phony figures there is a third of the electorate is hostile to the present dispensation and has actively responded to a successful boycott. The fact is: oppositional numbers are even greater, and that furthermore that the many of the votes cast were soft ones, indicating that the hard-core support for the status quo is 30/35%, drawn mostly, if not exclusively from the upper Brahmin/Chetri castes.
Whatever the percentages this boycott and election have shown that there is a critical mass of the Nepalese people who want change, who have a party that represents this desire and who will not be bound by the results of this so-called election.
The CPN- Maoists recognise that this is one battle in a war from which they have emerged intact and strengthened despite the range of foreign and domestic forces; political, ideological and military, ranged against them. They have neither buckled nor submitted to blandishments.
Their boycott campaign was innovative and dynamic and it is clear that they have galvanised youth in the Young People's Volunteer Bureau, showing the strength in depth they have across the generations.
They have laid the basis for a United Front of all progressive and patriotic peoples', further incensed by the Party's exposure of the meddling from Indian expansionists in 'managing' Nepalese political life, as they put it. They have kept faith with the Janajatis, the marginalised, the Dalits and the submerged underclass of the towns and cities by keeping the option of radical change and real freedom on the agenda. The boycott campaign has also enabled them to revive the spirit and activities of the liberated base areas that grew out of and in step with the People's War. The CPN-Maoists have achieved this by restoring a genuine revolutionary Maoist polity, more than justifying the reasons for splitting from the, in every sense, corrupted UCPN (M).
I will close summarising a statement made by comrade Dev Gurung, yesterday on behalf of the Party, who, while expressing "sadness for any damage caused by incidents during the strike", went on to say that the bandh had concluded successfully despite the efforts of the 4 party syndicate to misuse the state's power to suppress it. Reporting that the government had used force in arresting over 500 leaders and cadres on "false accusation he finished addressing the Nepalese people by thanking them: "for making our strike successful."
Lal salaam P. Tobin, 20th November, 2013
Democracy and Class Struggle apologise for formatting has we have a technical problem - we will publish full version of Report from Nepal by Peter Tobin later today.