Law And Order
Hisila Yami's call to dissolve the Maoists' YCL and the UML's Youth Force is a responsible one. Law and order is a function of the state. It is for the Nepal Police to take care of law and order. A youth wing of a political party may not engage in law and order activities. The YCL and the YF have been a fundamental threat to any feeling of normalcy in the country.
Army Integration Or Army Formation?
The phrase army integration is highly problematic. If you add the 30,000 Maoist soldiers to the 90,000 of the Nepal Army, you end up with an army that is four times the size it ought to be, and you don't end up with a Nepal Army but rather a Bahun Chhetri Janajati Army, you end up excluding the Madhesis.
The talk should not be of army integration, but rather army formation. The parliament has to prepare the blueprint for the future Nepal Army. What should be its size? What should be its ethnic composition? Its gender composition? What should be the basic criteria that the recruits should meet? The parliament has to answer those questions. Then it has to face the fact that many members of both the Nepal Army and the Maoist Army are not going to end up in the future army, just like most US soldiers who came back home from World War II did not end up in the US Army, instead many went to college, many got retrained for private sector jobs.
I recommend an army size of 20,000, and its ethnic composition has to be similar to that of the constituent assembly, and it has to be 40% female. Some of those 20,000 will come from the Nepal Army, some from the Maoist Army, some from Jwala and Goit.
So instead of debating the topic of army integration, the Maoists and the Congress should be talking army formation. The biggest challenge of that is going to moving about 100,000 soldiers into private sector jobs.
That is going to be yet another sticky issue. There also the leaders are choosing the wrong starting point. I recommend not starting with the map. Instead tackle other aspects of federalism first.
Federalism, yes or no? Answer: yes. Should we retain the 75 districts or not? I highly recommend a yes. If you get rid of the 75 districts, then you are going to invite administrative chaos in the short term. So if you keep the 75 districts, the next question is going to be, do you want ethnic federalism or geographic federalism? I recommend a three state geographic federalism, Koshi, Karnali, and Terai with three capitals Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Narayanghat. Any attempt at ethnic federalism is likely to be endlessly contentious.
Then there is the question of power distribution. What is that going to look like at the federal level? I recommend a lower house of 75 multi member constituencies of about 245 members, every third name on a party's list must be female, including the first. (Meeting Ground Between Congress And Maoists: 75 Multi Member Constituencies) For the upper house, the entire country is going to be one constituency. It would be a fully proportional election for 100 seats. Every other name on a party's list must be female. That for the legislative.
As for the executive, I recommend a directly elected president, with one person allowed a maximum of two four year terms. Briefly I thought a prime ministerial system might work in Nepal because there are bound to be many parties in existence, and no party might ever get more than 30% of the votes. But since a coalition government is also led by one person, why not encourage parties to build coalitions before the election instead and settle on a common choice, or two or three for president. A candidate must get at least 50% of the votes or there would be a runoff. And this is not the American system, because America does not have a directly elected president.
A directly elected president will allow for stability, direct democracy, and a clear separation of powers between the legislative and the executive.
Multi-Party Democracy Of State Funded Parties
This is what we have to do to make sure we get the Maoists to stop talking about a transitional republic and the people's republic. The state will fund the parties based on how many votes they earn in the parliamentary elections. And all book keeping by the parties will have to be transparent. The parties would not be allowed any other source of fundraising. I am surprised not even the Maoists have picked up this idea. This idea would make Nepal a democracy ahead of India, Britain, and America, as close to classlessness as a democracy can get, and it will retain the multi-party nature of democracy.
If we can end up with a multi-party democracy of state funded parties, and a parliament that is at least 40% female by law, the three mass movements of April 2006, January February 2007, and February 2008 will have been the French Revolution for this 21st century. Over time China and India and others will be forced to imitate Nepal.
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