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Today's links on the crisis situation:
18/09/2021: Adoption of official languages recommended for provinces challenging, experts say, by Tika R Pradhan (kp), Indo-Pacific Strategy and its possible impact on Nepalese Economy, by Sagar Jung Karki (kh), Will Kalapani residents fit into ‘my census, my participation’ motto? Central Bureau of Statistics, the agency conducting the national census, is not sure whether it could count households and number of people in the region physically., by Prithvi Man Shrestha and Anil Giri (kp), Big confusion as top body responding to Covid-19 becomes defunct : At a time when the government is facing a financial gridlock, the Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre getting invalid could spell a catastrophe, experts warn, by Tike R Pradhan a nd Sangam Prasain (kp), Why is Nepal facing a government shutdown? (kp), Need for clear action plan to abolish untouchability from country stressed (ht), Breaking The Sluggish Politics, by Dev Raj Dahal (rn)
(5 July 2021) Constitutional crisis : Can it be solved?
Corona infection numbers may temporarily decline. However, in view of the unchanged low tests, the lack of vaccines and the global developments, it is to be feared that a third wave will soon hit. The vaccination optimism spread by Prime Minister Oli seems misplaced.
Meanwhile, the political situation is escalating. The Supreme Court has already rejected unconstitutional measures of the Oli government in various cases. Perhaps outstanding is the decision that the personnel change in the Council of Ministers was clearly defined as unconstitutional, thus reducing the Council of Ministers to five members. Oli could have easily read this in Article 77 (3) of the Constitution before making his decision. Presumably, however, he does not see himself as an interim prime minister at all.
Yet Oli should not even be an interim prime minister after the elected MPs of the people in the House of Representatives withdrew their confidence in him. Due to the disunity of his political opponents, no alternative prime minister could initially stand for election. Therefore, President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointed Oli to continue in office as interim Prime Minister. As such, according to Article 76, he would have had to seek another vote of confidence in the House of Representatives within 30 days. Had he lost this one too, his time as prime minister would have been history.
However, the situation changed within a few days with the nomination of a new candidate for prime minister through a list signed by 146 of 265 possible MPs. Realising that he no longer had a chance to maintain his power through legal means, Oli staged a coup with the active support of President Bhandari. Oli declared that he had even more MPs behind him than Sher Bahadur Deuba, the candidate of the opposition forces, of course without a list of signatures, because this was not possible at all in terms of numbers.
Devi Bhandari declared the situation as unclear, although
she only had to ask the House of Representatives for a vote.
In order to avoid any more opposition from the House, she,
in consultation with KP Oli, dissolved the parliamentary
chamber again, set new elections for November 2021 and
reappointed Oli, who already had lost the confidence of the
people's representatives, as interim prime minister until
Even more serious is the fact that the respective party leaders are given an almost absolute power. All major parties are characterised by factionalism. As a rule, the party chairman is the top politician who has the most members behind him at the two highest party levels. The party chairman is then largely free to decide on personnel appointments as well as on the party's political stances. Resistance comes at most from the other factions within the party if he does not take them sufficiently into account in personnel policy.
In this sense, KP Oli sees himself as an almost absolutist ruler over his CPN-UML. His "world view" came into crisis when last year many MPs of his then still united party NCP opposed him and eventually even wanted to replace him as chairman and prime minister with another person from his party. This situation was aggravated when the Supreme Court annulled the merger of CPN-UML and CPN-MC. This meant that the CPN-UML was still the strongest party in parliament, but had lost its absolute majority. This majority was further reduced when the intra-party factions of MK Nepal and JN Khanal continued to oppose Oli and flirted with supporting a joint opposition prime ministerial candidate. Some of them then also signed the list submitted to the president.
Since then, Oli has been clamouring that it is undemocratic for MPs of his party to disregard his directives as chairman and support the opposition candidate. This aspect will also play a role when the Supreme Court has to decide in the next few days on the renewed dissolution of parliament and the machinations of Oli and Bhandari.
is to be hoped that the Supreme Court will decide in favour
of preserving democracy, the constitution and the rule of
law. It will not be able to avoid better defining the
understanding of democracy. It is also not acceptable for
the Supreme Court to make the opposition candidate prime
minister as is demanded by some lawyers on the plaintiff's
side. This is not a task of the court, but of parliament.
is a personal analysis of the legal situation. The bottom
line, however, is that the question remains whether Nepal
will find its way back to political rationality without new
elections. Without a radical democratisation of the parties
and the status of MPs, a weeding out of the failed old
political guard and a much better social inclusion based on
federalism and secularism, however, new elections will not
May 2021) Proposals for an
immediate rescue attempt of the people, the constitution
March 2021) Has the
Supreme Court thought through its latest decision to the
end? The SC's decision to judge the May 2018
form of merger of CPN-UML and CPN-MC into the NCP as
illegitimate resolves some of the conflicts that have been
simmering for weeks between the two factions of this ruling
NCP, but at the same time it creates new problems and
contradictions. The SC has to face the accusation that it
has allowed the decision on the case filed by Rishi Ram
Kattel's NCP, which was already officially registered and
licensed under that name in 2018, to stew for more than two
and a half years. At the same time, the Election Commission
must be aware that it should never have registered the
ruling NCP under that name at that time, according to the
(2 March 2021) State and democracy still in danger despite SB decision! On 23 February 2021, the Supreme Court finally delivered its long-awaited verdict on the constitutionality of Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli's dissolution of the House of Representatives on 20 December 2020 in cooperation with President Bidya Devi Bhandari. The Supreme Court's upholding of the unconstitutionality was a victory for democracy and confirmed for all time to come that Nepal's prime ministers have no right to dissolve parliament purely to satisfy their personal power needs. This breathed life back into the 2015 Constitution, which was thought to be dead after all. Oli's action can be considered a coup d'état.
A constitutionally and democratically oriented prime minister would have drawn the only possible moral conclusion from this verdict and would have resigned. Oli obviously does not belong to this category of politicians. He clings to his office and declares that he will never resign. After all, he is the best and most successful government Nepal has ever had; only he knows where he sees evidence for this. As he did before the court verdict, he ridicules the breakaway faction of his inner-party rivals Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal with the greatest possible scorn because they would never manage to win the majority of votes in parliament necessary for his ouster. At the same time, he surrounds himself with the aura of a potential martyr whose life is endangered by his rivals.
Apart from the clear immorality of Oli's behaviour, the question arises how it is possible that a prime minister whose faction only has about a quarter of the members of the House of Representatives behind him is nevertheless not forced to resign by the remaining representatives of the people. The explanation lies in the equally lacking morality and democratic attitude of the opposition leaders. All top politicians are also primarily concerned with personal power, not with the people and the nation, be they called Dahal, Nepal, Deuba, Paudel or whatever. They are all unwilling to put aside their personal ambitions for power to get Nepal's democracy back on track.
A second factor mentioned in this context is the unclear situation within the NCP. Both factions insult each other with accusations that go beyond any framework of politeness and exclude each other from the party. Yet an official split of the NCP has never been carried out. Both factions are demanding that the Election Commission recognise them as the legitimate NCP under that very name and with the electoral symbol of the sun. Although early parliamentary elections are off the table for the time being thanks to the court ruling, at some point the Election Commission will have to make a decision and the two factions will have to make a clear separation.
However, they both clearly do not want the latter, as they are aware that the split is likely to make a parliamentary majority for the communists impossible in the long run, as was the case after the 2017 elections. Although the Nepali Congress (NC), as the main opposition party, has not been able to gain many points despite the Oli government's numerous advantageous proposals, the party is likely to win significantly more direct mandates again if the NCP splits. Oli's then CPN-UML was also just ahead of the NC in percentage vote share in 2017. Already within the NCP, the Oli group is the smaller faction today. Oli's failures on almost all fronts of governance, his authoritarian and in many cases human rights-suppressing policies, and most recently the utterly senseless waste of taxpayers' money through the unconstitutional dissolution of parliament and the forced preparation of early new elections are likely to cost the Oli faction further votes. In any case, if the NCP were to split, the votes in favour of that party in new elections would be split between two parties. This too would probably play into the hands of the NC.
These considerations have now also reached the top politicians of the Dahal Nepal faction. Since it has become clear that neither of the two opposition parties, the NC and the Rastriya Samajbadi Party Nepal (RSPN), is prepared to support a vote of no confidence against Oli in the reinstated parliament as long as the NCP's internal party relations have not been clarified, there have been tentative considerations to restore the NCP's unity after all. But that would mean accepting all of Oli's misconduct and continuing to accept him as prime minister and party leader. That would indeed be a change of mind that would be difficult to convince rationally and democratically minded people in Nepal of.
The very misery of Nepali democracy, which is particularly evident in the current crisis, has a lot to do with the lack of democratic structures in the parties. All parties are extremely centrist and oriented towards a few leaders, who in turn usually form factions within the party over time. Whoever makes it to the top level of the party is almost impossible to get out of it, no matter what he is guilty of and how miserably he fails in the fulfilment of his tasks; all prime ministers of the last few years can be cited as examples here. This is also due to the fact that the lower party levels have hardly any influence on the top party levels. The top politicians decide to a large extent on the composition of the two highest party bodies and are careful to ensure that the proportion of their clientele is maintained there. Even in the nomination of candidates for parliamentary and provincial elections, the decision-making power lies largely with the central party leadership. This is the same for all parties. It also contributes to the fact that at least the upper levels of the party are far from reflecting the composition of society: In extremely patriarchal Nepal, men dominate quite predominantly, especially those from the Bahun and Chhetri circles. Given the aforementioned party structures, it is not to be expected that this will change quickly.
Another significant aspect is the inability to realise justice in relation to past crimes or misconduct, or strictly speaking, the denial of such justice. Here, too, all parties are involved. If one takes the massive international call for justice for the victims of the Maoist insurgency alone, it is clear that many of today's top politicians had to bear responsibility at that time, whether as direct participants such as the former Maoist leaders or as state politicians who were responsible for the deployment and conduct of the security forces.
Only two examples should be mentioned here. Pushpa Kamal Dahal declared some time ago that he was responsible for the deaths of around 5,000 people as the then head of the Maoists. But that does not stop him from continuing to aspire to leading state and party offices. It does not even occur to him to take responsibility before a court.
A second example is Sher Bahadur Deuba, the chairman of the NC and four-time prime minister. He paved the way for the Maoist insurgency when, as prime minister in 1995, he militantly yet unsuccessfully tried to suppress the initial organisation of the Maoist party in mid-western Nepal. In early 1996, he refused to even discuss the 40 demands of the Maoists, although most of them were completely rational and many dealt with the state policy guidelines of the then constitution, which the government paid little attention to. In 2001, Deuba then pushed through the mobilisation of the army against the Maoists, which led to a complete escalation of the conflict. The fact that in 2002 he also called on King Gyanendra to dissolve parliament, thus dealing a death blow to the political system of 1990, is also worth mentioning in view of Oli's current misconduct.
this background, it is legitimate to ask whether the current
party political leaderships are not mainly responsible for
the permanent crisis and the constant setbacks of Nepal's
democracy. If one answers this question with a yes, one
should discuss how Nepal can move towards a better
democratic path. However, it should not be enough to replace
the old failed leaders with a new generation. This
generational change must be accompanied by a complete
renewal of the political parties, whereby in the
multi-ethnic state of Nepal, adequate social inclusion is
February 2021) Democracy
is still alive in Nepal! For a good two
months, Prime Minister Oli could pretend that he was an
absolute ruler, that he was above the Constitution and any
legislation. Like Oli, his closest henchmen and his
defenders proclaimed in the Supreme Court that the prime
minister had every right on his side. Early elections in
April and May would be completely out of the question.
(3 February 2021) Even 45 days after the dissolution of parliament by Prime Minister KP Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari, the proceedings on the constitutionality of this action continue in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the submissions of the lawyers of the plaintiff sides have been completed. Since Monday, the lawyers of the government side have had the floor.
It is striking that the latter, in contrast to the lawyers of the plaintiff side, hardly refer to the constitution in their justification of Oli's and Bhandari's action. This is probably due to the fact that the Constitution does not really provide a justification. Thus, the defenders of the Oli government declare that such action is perfectly normal for a parliamentary democracy. Or they claim that Oli's action was necessary to preserve Nepal's sovereignty and nationalism.
One has to think several times about what lies behind these arguments. According to the constitution, Nepal's sovereignty lies with the people. The representatives legitimately and democratically elected by the people are the members of the House of Representatives. They therefore represent the sovereign people in Nepal's parliamentary system.
Dependent on this House of Representatives is the executive power. The representatives of the people elect a Prime Minister, who then forms a Council of Ministers to carry out and coordinate the official business of the country. To be elected, the prime minister needs the approval of a majority of the MPs within the House of Representatives. If a party has a clear majority in the House of Representatives, that party's top candidate is usually confirmed as prime minister, as provided by Article 76 (1) of the Constitution. If no party has an absolute majority, the candidate additionally needs the votes of one or more other parties, according to Article 76 (2).
KP Oli was elected Prime Minister in February 2018, his
CPN-UML did not have an absolute majority in the House of
Representatives. Oli was therefore elected under Article 76
(2) as he was also still elected by CPN-MC MPs who had
already formed an alliance with CPN-UML in the elections.
Therefore, as required under Article 76 (4), Oli faced a
vote of confidence in the House of Representatives within 30
days, in which he received almost 75 per cent of the votes.
This whopping majority was further consolidated two months
later when the two parties merged to form the NCP.
In such a case, it is the task of a prime minister to prove that he or she still has the confidence of the representatives of the sovereign people. In accordance with the basic principles of a democracy, this is done by the prime minister asking the House of Representatives for a vote of confidence. If he wins this, he automatically remains in office and his opponents have failed. If he loses the vote, he is automatically voted out and another candidate must seek the majority of MPs. In addition, his political opponents can also bring a vote of no confidence in parliament on their part. If a prime minister sees no chance of winning the vote of confidence in parliament from the outset, he can of course resign right away. These would have been the only options for the hard-pressed Prime Minister Oli in December 2020 at the latest. In fact, he should have faced these democratic options much earlier in order to avert greater damage to Nepal's state and society, especially in times of pandemic.
But Oli seems to understand and interpret the constitution and democracy differently. He probably sees parliament as representing the sovereign people only until they have elected the prime minister. After that, sovereignty passes to the latter. This is evidenced by Oli's dealings with parliament over the past three years. When parliament was active, important laws were often simply not passed. Time and again, Oli bypassed parliament by issuing ordinances in close cooperation with the president when parliament was not in session. This was easier for him, because then he was not bound by any votes and could push through what he liked.
The amendment to the Constitutional Council's decision-making procedure on 20 December was tantamount to a constitutional amendment by ordinance. The dissolution of the House of Representatives just five days later was a stab in the back for Nepal's fledgling democracy. It turned the constitution's provisions on sovereignty upside down. The Prime Minister, dependent on Parliament and accountable to it in every respect, dissolved the elected body of representatives of the sovereign people to preserve his personal power and impose policies that marginalised his political opponents. The argument of Oli's lawyers now before the Supreme Court that he had no other choice to preserve sovereignty, which is actually that of the people, is probably understood only by himself and his most adamant supporters. And the argument of preserving nationalism bodes ill. For months, Oli has presented himself as a Hindu fundamentalist. That would be the last thing Nepal needs now.
and Bhandari undoubtedly bear the main responsibility for
the escalation of the political and constitutional
situation. But one should not absolve Oli's inner-party
opponents, as well as the top politicians of opposition
parties, from a more or less large share of the blame. In
particular, in the context of the disputes on the streets
and in the media, no real separation is discernible on all
sides between the question of the legitimacy of Oli's steps
and their own respective ambitions for power.
(10 January 2021) The unresolved legal situation continues unchanged, while PM Khaga Prasad Sharma Oli continues to intensify his campaign for the new elections he has called for the House of Representatives. He accuses the four former chief justices, who had clearly declared themselves on the unconstitutionality of the dissolution of parliament, of interfering in an ongoing court case and attempting to influence the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, he himself continues to claim every right to call his action constitutional; that the House of Representatives will not be reinstated under any circumstances and that the elections will be held as announced. But such words from the mouth of the Prime Minister, of course, have nothing to do with influencing the decision of the judiciary.
At the same time, Oli is trying to keep the state apparatus under his unrestricted control. Thus, in order to preserve the appearance of democracy, the winter session of the remaining parliamentary chamber, the National Assembly, was convened on 2 January, but on 10 January Oli had the session ended again after only four meetings. The fact that he spat on the floor of the National Assembly on this occasion makes it clear what he thinks of this democratic institution. Also, why does Oli need a legislature at all when Nepal has such an able and powerful PM? This way, Oli can pass laws, as he wants them, by ordinance and have them signed by his president. He has repeatedly used this as an ideal way in the past almost three years of his tenure.
Meanwhile, demonstrations against Oli's unconstitutional actions (here called so with no hidden agenda of influencing the court out of full conviction) are taking place in all corners of the country. Meanwhile, Oli also likes to have such demonstrators arrested by the police. At his own election rallies, the wearing of black masks is strictly forbidden, as this could be a symbol of protest. Even black breathing masks have to be removed. What does Oli care about protective measures against the spread of the pandemic? Any other kind of demonstration is also prevented at such events. In Dhangadhi, for example, a group of young people were arrested because they wore appropriate shirt inscriptions to remind people of the continuing lack of investigation into the rape and murder of Nirmala Pant and demanded justice. Since the crime, there have been accusations that the highest political circles are deliberately preventing the investigation.
Finally, the camp of the advocates of a return to monarchy and the Hindu state must unfortunately also be addressed. The anniversary of Prithvinarayan Shah's birth is a welcome occasion to remember the founder and military unifier of modern Nepal. While it is true that Nepal owes it to this Shah king that it still exists today as an independent state and has not been absorbed into the Indian Union, it must also be remembered that the policies of Prithvinarayan Shah and his successors are responsible for the system of patriarchy, inequality, exclusion and discrimination that makes it so difficult today to transform Nepal into a modern democratic state.
ex-king Gyanendra once again spoke out today, pretending
that his main concern was the preservation of the country.
What is meant by this was made clear by Kamal Thapa, the
chairman of the RPP, when he once again called for a return
to monarchy and the Hindu state. Criticism of today's
supposedly democratic politicians is made easy for the
monarchists these days. Oli and the other so-called top
politicians are well on their way to destroying the country.
But they are only completing what the monarchy could not
complete before. Only a younger charismatic generation of
politicians from among Nepali citizens with a commitment to
inclusion, democracy and secularism and an aversion to
theocracy and overrated political ideologies can save the
January 2021) How
similar things are: When the US president
incites his most diehard supporters to initiate a coup from
above against the state and democracy for the purpose of
retaining power, statesmen all over the world condemn his
action. Not so PM Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli and his
government in Nepal. Why should they, Oli has behaved
similarly to Trump after he could no longer hold on to power
through democratic means. Trump has the American parliament
stormed, which was about to confirm his ouster, Oli
dissolves the Nepalese parliament so that the democratically
elected representatives of the sovereign people there cannot
deprive him of executive power.The latter, by the way, is a
legitimate democratic right of parliament. Yet Trump in the
US and Oli in Nepal have, in four respectively three years
of failed politics, provided ample grounds for voting out or
removing from executive power.
Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP continues to pretend that its
primary concern is the withdrawal of the dissolution of
parliament. In keeping with the media, its leaders position
themselves in a strictly hierarchical order at the forefront
of the sit-ins on the streets. However, since it became
clear that the other parties are not willing to join them in
protest actions, the focus for Dahal and Nepal has also
shifted more towards new elections. The visible sign at the
moment is the effort to be recognised by the Election
Commission as the legitimate NCP with a view to the future.
the other parties, the RPP should be mentioned here,
although this party seems completely insignificant in view
of the election results of 2017. The problem is that this
party of die-hards is trying to use the chaos caused by Oli
and the NCP to promote a return to monarchy and the Hindu
state through mass demonstrations. Their leaders are
proving that they have clearly not understood the history
and society of Nepal. The demand for such a step backwards
is unlikely to be successful, but it further exacerbates the
current chaos. (Tsak Sherpa)
(6 January 2021) The political crisis continues. Today, the Supreme Court began hearing the 13 constitutional petitions that followed the dissolution of parliament by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari. Of the 5 judges of the Constitutional Bench, Hari Krishna Karki has retired. He had been accused of bias as he had served as Attorney General during the first Oli government. The trial is scheduled to resume on 13 January 2021.
Meanwhile, both infighting between the two factions of the NCP at all levels of the federal system and protests by other parties continue unabated. Both NCP groups are showering accusations on each other and trying to damage the other group and push it out of power. For a long time now, this dispute has been endangering the very foundations of the entire state, especially since the leaders of the two factions seem to be mainly interested in their personal ambitions for power.
PM Oli is continually escalating into a defence of the legality of his actions. In the meantime, he is even claiming that this was a purely political measure on which the Supreme Court is not even entitled to judge.
One can only hope that the Supreme Court will reach a verdict on the constitutionality of the dissolution of parliament as soon as possible. In a democratic state, a prime minister has only two options if his government loses its majority: resignation or at least a vote of confidence in parliament. The elected representatives of the sovereign people sit in parliament. Oli owes his office only to the election by this Parliament, which alone has the right to deprive the PM of legitimacy. The dissolution of the House of Representatives, avowedly for Oli's personal retention of power, is therefore tantamount to a coup d'état.
But even if the Supreme Court reverses the dissolution of parliament, there remain legitimate doubts that this parliament will last much longer. The top politicians of the two factions have already destroyed Nepal's democratic system too much. There will be no stable governing majorities either at the central level or in the provinces after a possible restoration of parliament. In any case, the question of legitimacy remains. At the top of all the major parties are ageing leaders, some of whom have already failed several times or whose legitimacy to exercise power is at least questionable because of their political past. As a logical consequence, even if the House of Representatives is reinstated, there will probably be early elections sooner or later. However, with the current, largely over-aged party leaders, even these could be forgotten. Given the large parliamentary majority, the Oli government would have had a unique opportunity to stabilise Nepal politically and advance the country's development. Oli has miserably squandered this opportunity.
Meanwhile, the Corona pandemic continues to affect all aspects of life. But that does not seem to interest the politicians of all parties at all. The daily announced case numbers may seem low compared to western industrialised countries, but the value of the numbers mentioned is doubtful in view of the extremely low number of daily tests. While in most countries of the world the numbers of infections and deaths are steadily increasing or at least have remained at a high level for weeks, the numbers in Nepal continue to fall unabated. And this despite the fact that the Oli government continues to do absolutely nothing to control the spread of the pandemic.
too, there is hardly anything that can be glossed over. So
the comments on the revival of the all-important tourism
sector seem like a nice dream. Reports on the death of
hotels speak a clearer language. In view of the current
world situation, Nepal should rather assume that 2021 will
remain another lost year for international tourism. (Tsak
Dictionaries:The dictionaries have been moved to the subdomain Nepal Research Languages
Verein Nepal-Inzlingen - Hilfe für Kinder in Nepal, Inzlingen, Germany
Rheinland-Lorraine-Nepal eV., Koblenz, Germany
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German-Nepal Friendship Association website
Nepal democracy: Gateway to Nepali politics
South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Nepalmed e.V., Grimma, Germany (website in German and English)
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