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: The final countdown in Nepal

March 6, 2012

PRASHANT JHA

Political parties have less than three months to resolve three issues — integration of Maoist combatants, form of government, federalism — that will shape state structure for years to come.

Five years after a peace accord marked the end of a decade long civil war, Nepal’s political transformation has entered its final phase.

On May 27, 2012, the term of the Constituent Assembly — extended four times beyond its original two-year term — will expire. And this time, politicians will not find it easy to give the CA another lease of life due to a judicial stricture. The Supreme Court (SC) has declared that the current extension is final, and if the constitution is not promulgated, there should be another election or referendum. There is also rising popular pressure to wrap up the prolonged transition, which has been accompanied by abysmal service delivery.

That gives the political forces less than three months to wrap up the peace process and write a constitution. Together, this will shape the nature of Nepal’s political institutions and security apparatus. More

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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