NEPAL: Federalists on paper

Mar 21st 2012, 11:51 by T.B. | KATHMANDU

FOUR years ago Nepal elected a Constituent Assembly (CA) with a two-year mandate to write a new democratic constitution and draw a line under a decade of Maoist rebellion. After repeated delays and term extensions, undignified politicking and public derision, the process is at last running out of road. All the signs are that it will end in a nasty crash this summer.

The critical issue is the sort of federal autonomy demanded by historically marginalised ethnic groups. Their grievances helped fuel the insurgency and are now creating an increasingly stark polarisation between what are characterised as “the dominant group” and “the oppressed”. Familiar terms, these, but the battle-lines are new. Whereas the Maoists stressed class oppression, nowadays the talk is of ethnicity. More

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NEPAL: Anti-federalism will lead to confrontation

The way in which the states will be carved, the rights to be allocated to various levels of governance and groups, on the issue of state restructuring, have created heated debates among many sectors. After the State Restructuring Commission’s report failed to bring parties together on the issue, and rather intensify the polarisation, the debates—inside parliament and out—on federalism continue. As Chairman of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Raj Kumar Lekhi has been at the forefront of the debate, speaking on behalf of marginalised communities. Also the Chairman of Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha, Lekhi spoke with Bidushi Dhungel and Gyanu Adhikari about the demands of the marginalised on state-restructuring, the Tharu perspective and the parties’ inability to explain adequately the need for federalism to the people. Excerpts: More

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