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Alliance for Social Dialogue

:: Nepal in Transition Monthly Updates Prime Minister and UCPN (M) Chairperson under pressure (March 11-17)
Sunday, 18 March 2012 12:38

Prime Minister and UCPN (M) Chairperson under pressure (March 11-17)

The senior leaders of UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, and UML reached an agreement to carry out army integration as per the seven-point agreement and give the reasonability tot the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC). The meeting of AISC took place as Congress and UML maintained their position that unless there is progress on the peace process, constitution-drafting would not move forward. In the meeting, prime minister Bhattarai submitted the proposal for army integration. The AISC members from Congress and UML accused the prime minister’s proposal of being ‘against the seven-point agreement and prevalent acts and laws’. They also raised suspicion that the prime minister’s proposal might adversely affect the peace process.

There was no progress in another meeting of the AISC. Congress and UML leaders claimed that the prime minister proposal of ‘trying to create another army within the Army, the structure of the directorate not being correct, and rank and standards not confirming’. They argued that promoting by one rank and shortening the training period was against the seven-point agreement. Prime minister Bhattarai asked for some flexibility on the rank to be awarded during integration; however, Congress and UML did not budge from their position.

As Congress and UML were saying that the rank above major could not be given, UCPN (M) chairperson Dahal and prime minister Bhattarai held a meeting with the Maoist commanders. The commanders suggested that there should be no agreement below the rank of brigadier general. At the same time, there was a meeting of UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya faction; they accused the prime minister of dragging his feet for his resignation. The faction made preparations to demand for resignation of the prime minister. Meanwhile, former Maoist combatants held a national meeting in Dang, to which even the Dahal and Bhattarai faction raised their objections.

The Vaidya faction held a press conference in the name of United National People’s Struggle Committee and announced that if the prime minister does not resign immediately, it would launch a movement in the streets and the parliament. CP Gajurel, who is also the UCPN (M) secretary, warned that if the prime minister does not resign, it would bring a vote of no-confidence in the parliament. Gajurel also criticised chairperson Dahal accusing him of promising to seek the prime minister’s resignation and not doing anything about it.

The Vaidya faction also made public 20 points that should be included in the constitution. The demands included a directly elected executive president with proportional representation, autonomous regional governance with right to self-determination for the oppressed castes, constitution to be interpreted by and political issues to be resolved by a constitutional court, implementation of revolutionary land reforms with redistribution of land beyond a ceiling to the landless and homeless without compensation to the owners.

After the parties could not find consensus on disputed issues of the constitution, the Business Advisory Committee of the Constituent Assembly decided to extend the deadline by 10 at parties’ request. The Constitutional Committee had no business agenda. Prime minister Bhattarai, who has been expressing his commitment to peace and constitution-drafting, accused the parties of not helping him accomplish those tasks. As the parties could not reach consensus on peace and constitution-drafting, President Ram Baran Yadav called UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Congress president Sushil Koirala, UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal, and Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar of United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) to his residence Shital Niwas and inquired about the peace and constitution-drafting process. President Yadav asked the leaders to conclude the peace process and to work seriously to promulgate the constitution on time.

Major Development


March 11

The senior leaders of UCPN (M), Congress, and UML meet at Singha Durbar. Agreement to carry out integration as per the seven-point agreement. The leaders said that agreement has been reached to give the responsibility of integration to the AISC.
Meeting of the Constitutional Committee. Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai accuses the opposition parties of not letting him work on the peace and constitution-drafting process; and says that he has been besieged.
Constituent Assembly chairperson Subash Nemwang met the senior leaders of UCPN (M), Congress, and UML at his office. Discussion on the constitution. Suggests UCPN (M) chairperson Dahal to assume the role like that of the Argentinean footballer Messi.
A writ is filed in the Supreme Court against the government decision to withdraw 367 cases including against UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and prime minister Bhattarai.
Congress senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba in Biratnagar. States that if the new constitution is not promulgated by May 27, the 1990 Constitution should be reinstated and the president can take the place of the monarchy.
Madhesi Janadhikar Forum chairperson in a programme in Janakpur expresses the fear that if the peace and constitution-drafting process is not concluded by May 27, the country might head for disintegration.

March 12

Meeting of the dispute resolution sub-committee of the Constitutional Committee. Discussion on the peace process and constitution-drafting. Congress and UML insist that constitution-drafting can only move ahead after peace process. The meeting is adjourned without entering any agenda.
Society of Citizens Disappeared by the State announces protest programme. Warns of sit-ins in front of the Constituent Assembly and the office of UCPN (M) if its demands are not fulfilled.
Party unification talks between CPN (UML) and CPN (ML). Senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, general secretary Ishwor Pokharel, Ghan Shyam Bhusal from UML and CP Mainali, NP Acharya, Damber Shrestha and others from ML participate in the talks.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai in Gorkha. Claims that last ditch efforts are being made for peace and constitution. States progress is being made in disputed issues.

March 13

Meeting of AISC. Congress and UML allege that the integration proposal of the prime minister Baburam Bhattarai is against the seven-point agreement, prevalent laws, and all the agreement till date.
Meeting of the State Affairs Committee of the legislature-parliament decides to seek clarification from the prime minister on the scandal surrounding the Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation who had flown without proper visa.
The faction of UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya decides to go ahead with its demand for resignation of the prime minister Baburam Bhattarai. Party secretary CP Gajurel accuses chairperson Dahal of dilly-dallying in calling the meeting of the standing committee.
Constituent Assembly chairperson Subash Nemwang cancels his trip to attend the meeting of Inter-parliamentary Union in Uganda. States that he cancelled the trip as the date for promulgating the new constitution is near.
Meeting between Constituent Assembly chairperson Subash Nemwang and whips of the major parliamentary parties. Agreement on shortening the constitution-drafting process.

March 14

Meeting of former Maoist combatants in Dang. UCPN (M) general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa claims that the meeting was held to centralise the People’s Liberation Army.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, CA Women’s Caucus organises a programme. UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Congress president Sushil Koirala, and UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal express commitment not o discriminate against women on the issue of citizenship.
Meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of the Constituent Assembly decides to extend by 10 days to seek consensus on disputed issues in the constitution-drafting process.
Meeting UML standing committee stresses on the completion of integration and vacating of cantonments to conclude the peace process. Expresses dissatisfaction at the proposal of the prime minister.

March 15

Meeting of UML parliamentary party decides to put pressure on the government to work on the peace and constitution-drafting process and directs its leaders not to go on foreign trips until the new constitution is promulgated.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai hold meeting with Maoist commanders. Commanders suggest the leadership not to make agreement below the rank of the brigadier general.
The standing committee and politburo members belonging to the faction of UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and prime minster Baburam Bhattarai hold a meeting. Raises objection to a separate meeting of Vaidya faction. Agreement to take the peace and constitution-drafting process forward even if the Vaidya faction opposes.

March 16

Meeting of the Council of Ministers decides to give NRS 20 million to the 11-member team including the son of UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Meeting between UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, and YCL leaders. A committee is formed to provide financial package to the former combatants who had joined the YCL. The committee members are deputy commander Chandra Prakash Khanal, YCL coordinator, and CA member Uma bhujel.
Meeting of AISC. Congress and UML allege that the proposal of the prime minister on rank, standards, and structure of the directorate are against the seven-point agreement and the peace process.

March 17

President Ram Baran Yadav meets UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Congress president Sushil Koirala, UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal, and Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar of UDMF at his residence Shital Niwas; asks them to work on the peace and constitution-drafting process on time.
The faction of UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya holds a press conference in the capital, demands resignation of prime minster Baburam Bhattarai, and makes public 20 points that should be included in the new constitution.
Prime minster Baburam Bhattarai holds consultation with smaller parties. The parties ask him to be flexible and take the peace process forward.