Interim Parliament: 300 Sounds Fine

I myself have toyed with two numbers, 270 and 101. I think 300 sounds fine. This will allow the current parliament to continue, and it will allow it to expand to include the Maoists, and the civil society if deemed necessary.

Interim Parliament: 101 Members Total
40 Seats For Maoists, 25 For Others

This way we don't have to worry about kicking out the RPP and the RJP people. The RPP has actually emerged to be a republican party. And we don't have to worry about the Maoist formula where the seven parties get 101 seats, and the Maoists get 101 seats.

300 will give room for Maoists, for the civil society and for the DaMaJaMa leaders in the various NGOs.

300 is also close to the size of the constituent assembly, the size of the next parliament after the country gets a new constitution since there seems to be an emerging consensus that there should be one MP for every 100,000 Nepali.

A parliament 300 strong of which over 200 were directly elected some time in the past will have more authority than one where none were ever elected. The bigger parliament will also be a strong buffer against any possibility of a military coup, not that I see any on the horizon.

The downside is the 300 strong parliament might get too comfortable with itself and might end up taking up more time than they should to take the country through a constituent assembly. The plus of such a delay is all the top Maoists will end up in parliament, and that will be a crash course in democracy for them. Let's jaw not war.

And the work of the country need not stop while we stride towards a constituent assembly. This revived House has done so many good things, like the 33% reservations for women at all levels of government. An interim parliament that included the Maoists should continue to do good work for the country.

Actually I don't see why that interim parliament should not work to integrate the two armies, to downsize the combined army, and to democratize it to make it meritocratic at all levels, and to ensure a fair ethnic and gender composition. One year would be enough time to do all that. Only the seven parties are going to have to act magnanimous. They should not make attempts to rub the Maoist nose in the dirt just because they have the numbers in the parliament.

An attempt should also be made to restructure the police force.

If we can end up with a progressive police, and a progressive army before we end up with the constituent assembly elections, that would be great. But it does not have to be that way. All that can happen after the constituent assembly elections also. But I am thinking, why wait!

A 300 strong parliament can also include the civil society. They played an important role into the democracy movement. And the country is in transition. The civil society leaders will perhaps be more effective inside.

In the 300 strong parliament, the Maoists can not realistically expect to have more seats than the largest party, which is the Congress at around 70. The Maoists also can not expect more seats than that of the UML. If the Maoists are to emerge the largest communist party, they are going to have to do it at the ballot box. So I am looking at the size of the Maoists to be somewhere between the UML and the Deuba Congress. That would be only fair.

It would be interesting to read the names, see the faces of and learn the biographical details of all the Maoists who will end up in parliament. I think we are going to come across some names that are not in the public domain right now, or at least not in a major way.

Overall I am optimistic and positive, it is just that we have to make room for some posturing by all parties concerned at one time or the other. The democratic process is not a symphony, it is more often a cacophony of voices clamoring to be heard.

Looks like Nepal will have an all party government for about two more years. During those two years the country should end up with more than a new constitution. The country should keep moving ahead full speed. Bringing the law and order situation to normal is key.

All we have to do is get the house in order, and the economy is all ready to take off. Lucky that Nepal is sandwiched between China and India, the two sexiest economies on earth f0r some time to come.

The Revolutionary Parliament Should Bring Forth An Interim Judiciary
The KP Oli Event
Madhesi Rights
Peace Talks
Three Emerging Poles
If The Monarch Gets Restive, Dump Him Now
Anti Musharraf Rally

In The News

DPM Oli addresses UN General Assembly, urges for greater int’l support NepalNews
People’s will should be the basis of authority: Martin qualitative and comprehensive preparation for the constituent assembly (CA) is more important than holding it. ..... quoted the Maoist leaders as saying during his meeting with them that they were ready for cantonment of their armed forces once agreement on political issues are reached. ........ Martin also informed that he has been constantly holding discussions with UN officials in New York to proactively act upon the request from the government after the summit talks scheduled for Thursday. ......
US Secretary of State saddened by death of colleagues; UN mourns death of friends and colleagues in helicopter crash
OHCHR Nepal concerned over Maoist excesses
SPA discusses agenda for 'summit talks'; fails to find consensus on fate of monarchy conflicting views among the alliance partners regarding the process of deciding the fate of monarchy. ...... the Maoists would be staying in cantonment areas while Nepal Army would be limited to the barracks, and the UN would verify Maoist arms and the strength of the People’s Liberation Army. ...... three views emerged during the meeting on the future of monarchy. ...... future of the monarchy should be decided either by the constituent assembly or a referendum or it should be decided even before the constituent assembly election is held. ...... agreed on forming interim legislature, the meeting could not reach into conclusion on the issue of size and proportion of legislature. ...... A taskforce formed by the SPA to discuss the draft of the interim statute was for 300-seat interim legislature, including the Maoists. ....
Maoists collecting money from Indian vehicles; abduct a peon
British Foreign Office Minister urges Maoists to lay down arms

Nepal PM, Maoist chief to hold peace talks Hindustan Times, India
Britain stresses "one government-one army" in Nepal Kantipur Online, Nepal

Myths about Monarchy in Nepal Kantipur Publications a clear mandate from Jana Andolan-2 to abolish the monarchy ....... People are being made to believe that the monarchy is necessary for the unity of the nation or to stop the Maoists from coming to power and that a ‘ceremonial’ king can do no harm. ...... Nepal’s “Unification” is an imagined myth created by the state-sponsored historians of the Panchayat regime. ...... The Shah kings have always been cruel to the people. ..... The Shah kings have always suppressed the minority languages, cultures, and religions. King Mahendra did this in a systematic way through state nationalism, an ideology that was practised by dictators like Mussolini and Franco. Under King Mahendra, state nationalism mainly meant one language (Nepali), one religion (Hinduism), one dress (Daura-Suruwal and Topi) and glorifying the monarchy in various ways. Anyone who disagreed with this policy was an “anti-national element”......... Undoing state nationalism is the biggest challenge for democracy in Nepal. ...... the Magars who form the bulk of their army. ..... the monarchy has divided the nation rather than united it. ..... BP said his “neck was joined with the king’s” against the communist onslaught. ...... the Nepali army cannot turn fully professional if the monarchy remains in any form. Nepal could have abolished the monarchy in 1951 and 1990, but didn’t. It mustn’t repeat the mistake now. ......
Condoleezza Rice saddened by death of USAID workers in Nepal
Oli addresses General Assembly, says UN-led peace process can serve as an example
Govt-Maoist Thursday's talks to initiate arms mgmt The leaders also decided to set up an all-party mechanism for further work on the Citizenship Bill, which was tabled at the House of Representatives a couple of weeks ago. The House is yet to endorse it...... Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi) has been demanding the scrapping of any cut-off date and providing of citizenship to all those residing in Nepal at present. ...... Koirala is reported to have expressed himself in favor of restructuring the present parliament so as to ensure representation of the Maoists and civil society. ....... Koirala argued that a referendum would activate a now-passive king.
Heavy rain cripples life in eastern Nepal; Drought hits Humla
Maoists committed serious HR violations: OHCHR
Smuggling rampant, police ‘involved’ There has been a massive growth in smuggling activities in the border areas of Parsa and Bara, which according to local people is largest in volume in the last five years. ...... "Without the consent and protection of police, armed police and revenue investigation offices, such volumes of illegal trading cannot take place. ...... racketeers have now also expanded their activities to Rautahat and Sarlahi. ..... "At least five big groups are running the rackets and dozens of people have made huge investments to operate each group" ...... smuggling of food staples, while the other three are involved in illegal trading of textiles, readymade garments, stainless steel utensils, and dry food items and spices such as cashew nuts, coriander and cumin. ......... as soon as the clock strikes nine in the evening, hundreds of carts and tractors start ferrying goods to bordering villages, namely, Inarwa, Sirsiya, Nagwa, Balirampur and Alou. The goods are then loaded on trucks and brought to Birgunj, which then move on to Kathmandu and Pokhara from as early as three in the morning. ........ "Police, in civil dress, even reach the site to take account of goods that are being transported" .... the increment in customs duties is actually fuelling an increase in smuggling activities as well.
'सबै मुद्दा छिट्टै टुंगिन्छ'
शिखर वार्ता बिहीबार
ँमिडियामा बहुलवाद आवश्यक’
कम्युनिस्ट आन्दोलन उठाएको दाबी
माओवादीद्वारा जबरजस्ती अभियानमा
दल-माओवादी सुझबुझ
जारी माओवादी ज्यादती
माओवादीद्वारा गाडीबाट जबर्जस्ती चन्दा
व्यवसायीको मागप्रति सरकार लचिलो नहुने

Discrimination: Until when?

By Bindu Chaudhary

The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the country's constitution as well as international human rights principles. It relates directly and indirectly to the freedom of expression, which further means that any person has the right to think, hold an opinion and express an opinion, alone, with others, informally or formally through peaceful assembly. However, the bitter truth is that Madheshis are as if 'red rag to a bull', their mere presence makes some people so angry that they quickly resort to aggressive behavior. The police, on September 11, came down heavily on the street protest called by the Madheshi community in front of Singha Durbar demanding that the issue of citizenship be sorted out before the elections to the constituent assembly is held. Similar to this one, the blunt police brutality was expressed when the Nepali police mercilessly lathicharged and injured Madheshis at the peaceful protest in Janakpur early this year.

When Madheshis still have questions about whether human rights are actually protected, preserved and promoted for Madheshis, police rage against Madheshis come as a slap in the face. It cannot be a mere coincidence that whenever 'Madheshis' come up with their agenda, the first reaction is to beat them up and shut their mouth off! This is but an overt expression of prejudice against Madheshis. Another most fundamental human rights recognized in international law, as well as in many of the national constitutions is the right to non-discrimination on the basis of national or ethnic origin, religion, race, caste, color, ideological conviction or any other ground. However, the fact is, Madheshis are discriminated and they are discriminated against socially, economically, politically, culturally and linguistically for centuries. Here are some hard facts Madheshis have to live with everyday: About 90 percent of the Terai districts, where 95.5 percent of the total Madheshi people live, have a large number of educationally deprived populations (compared to only about 13 percent in hills and mountains).

Again, 50 percent of the Terai districts have 'worst ranking' for child literacy rates (compared to 29 percent in hills and mountain districts). Geographically, about 45 percent of the 20 Terai districts have the worst poverty ranking (as compared to 29 percent in hills and mountains). Also, 50 percent of Terai districts have 'worst' per capita budget allocation index (compared to about 17 percent of the hill districts). As if this was not enough, only 11.2 percent of Madheshi people are in the integrated index of governance with none in culture, academic and professional leadership. There is an undeclared ban on their recruitment in the Nepali Army, and they are in insignificant number in Nepal police.

It is such a crying shame that Madheshis, who constitute more than a third of Nepal's population are still dealing with scores of basic development issues such as land, languages, identity, citizenship certificates, and discrimination in health, education, employment and so on. One needs to get into the shoes of a Madheshi to experience what it feels to be like a 'second class' citizen, or, a 'no-citizen'. Around 6 million Madheshis do not have citizenship certificates. It is difficult to comprehend why there is so much hue and cry and all the hullabaloo about issuing citizenship certificates to the Madheshis.

Recently, there has been a historic development with the proclamation of House of Representative to issue citizenship certificate on the basis of mother's citizenship. It is definitively a welcome step for guaranteeing equal rights to women; nonetheless, it is not enough to bring any substantial change in the present state of citizenship problems in Terai. It is therefore necessary that the 'stateless' Madheshis are granted citizenship certificates before the elections of Constituent Assembly.

Citizenship is a right, not a privilege that one has to ask for it, and asking for it is not a crime for which they need to be beaten up. Such disgraceful acts of Nepali police should not restrain Madheshi men and women from voicing their demand again, until each and every Madheshi has citizenship certificate in his hand, obviously, before the Constituent Assembly.