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Schmidt's dictionary of modern Nepali
German Sherpa (pdf)
Updated evaluations on crisis solution can be found here. Evaluations on other topics can be accessed through the headwords above.
The inclusively elected Constituent
With grave violations of the interim constitution, the top party leaders want to pave the way to new CA elections:
On 14 March 2013, a new government (election council) has been sworn in by President Ram Baran Yadav under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi. It is said that this government has been made possible by application of Article 158 of the Interim Constitution. Since this article requires the consent of the legislative parliament within one month, the president simply annulled this part of Article 158 for the time being, just as if this only representative president had absolutist powers.
As Regmi refuses to step down as chief justice, the separation of powers has been completely annulled. The executive parliament had already been destroyed by the top party leaders on 27 May 2012. But the Supreme Court (SC) had only decided that the Constituent Assembly (CA) could not be extended as the constitution writing body. It never mentioned that the CA also had to be abolished in its function as legislative parliament.
It would not have been any problem to revive the CA in this legislative function as active and former justices of the SC have confirmed on several occasions. It were the party leaders who were not able to bring the state back on a legitimate path by this most constitutional way.
Nepal has moved another step away from the rule of law. Not only the
top party leaders but also the president and the chief justice
disregard the interim constitution and subordinate laws. Executive,
legislative and judicative powers are joined in one hand, that of the
chairman of the so-called election government. But the top party
leaders have already made clear that they will have the final control
over the ongoing processes. For this reason, a political committee
shall be formed with representatives from the major political forces.
Its task shall be to facilitate the election council and resolve
political problems. This may already mean the death of the election
plans since the leaders of the major political parties have proved
often enough that they will never be able to solve any problems.
plan is to hold elections for a new CA on 21 June 2013. If this is not
possible, the elections shall take place in November 2013. The
composition of this new CA shall be reduced to 491 members (from
formerly 601). 240 of them will be directly elected, 240 through the
proportional representation system, and 11 shall be nominated by the
election council on the basis of political agreement. The first CA had
been by far too big but the reduction of the proportional system from
60% to 40% of the elected members is a further step back from greater
inclusion. Neither are the parties inclusive nor have they democratic
structures. Their almost exclusively male Bahun leaders will never
nominate the candidates for the direct system in an inclusive way. This
may be suggested by the interim constitution and by the election law,
but it is not binding as in the case of the proportional system.
But not only the inclusive election right will be reduced, there are a number of other shortcomings that already call the elections for new CA into question. So is the right to vote still not guaranteed to all citizens of Nepal. This most prominently concerns, e.g., the traditionally excluded groups like Madhesi, Janajati, Muslims and Dalits, but also the descendants of Nepali mothers and foreign fathers. There may have been some legal changes in this respect after 2006 but they have never been really implemented, especially not with regard to the traditionally excluded groups.
Further, there have been a number of miususes of the first CA by the political parties, most of all by their so-called top leaders. Elections for a new CA only make sense if these misuses are prevented right from the beginning. One of the most prominent failures of the top party leaders has been the continued misuse of the CA for their political power games. Most negative has been the intervention of the party leaders into the constitution writing tasks of the CA. Not the party leaders but only the elected members of the CA had and will have to discuss and write the constitution. The inclusive election system only makes sense if they are totally free in their opinions and decisions concerning the new constitution and not bound to the will of the party leaders. The top party leaders have destroyed the first CA because they were not able to understand this system.
the perspective must also include the time after the new constitution
has been promulgated. The political parties should use the time to
stand up for internal democracy, inclusion and transparency. Besides,
they must turn away from their politics of impunity. The half-hearted
ordinance for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC), as signed by the president on 14 March 2013, once
again gives doubt that the party leaders will change. Nepal needs a
completely new leadership within all political parties if the new
beginning shall be successful.
Links on the crisis situation:
23/05/2013: Congress, UML to put up united face on poll laws, by Kamal Dev Bhattarai (kp), 2 parties to Regmi: Ignore Maoist plans (kp), NEFIN opposes proposal to slash CA seats, threshold (nn), Last resort: CPN-Maoist should realise and convince its cadres of the benefits of contesting election (kp), Politics and conflict resolution: Shortfalls in peace process, by Umesh K. Bhattarai (ht), The situation is not favorable for polls, interview with Ashok Rai (rep), Justice delayed: Cases of disappearances (rep), 'Impunity has further entrenched in Nepal' (nn)
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Nepal democracy: Gateway to
Additional papers on crisis solution
Nepalprojekt der Helene-Lange-Schule, Wiesbaden