Event ReportsPublished on Jun 23, 2011
Senior leader of the CPN-UML, K P Sharma Oli, feels that the Constituent Assembly of Nepal is unlikely to complete its task by the August 31 deadline and another extension is unavoidable.
Constituent Assembly will have to be extended again, says senior Nepali leader

A senior leader of Nepal’s CPN-UML party, K P Sharma Oli, has said that another three-month extension of the Constituent Assembly (CA) is  unavoidable as neither the peace process nor the constitution drafting will be completed within the August 31 deadline.

Speaking at Observer Research Foundation on June 23, 2011 on ’Challenges before Peace Process in Nepal’, Mr. Oli, a member of the Central Committee and head of his party’s Foreign Affairs Department, said, "Nothing significant will come out by August 28. So we need another three-month extension".

"Without the management of Maoist combatants, we cannot have a new constitution in place," Mr. Oli said.

Stating that a Constitution is "not just a book," Mr. Oli said that issues related with drafting of the new Constitution have to be "agreed by all." He was referring to lack of political consensus on vital issues of the peace process, mainly the integration of the Maoist combatants into the security forces.

Mr. Oli said that the popular movement of April 2006 had two main objectives. First was to bring to an end the autocratic rule of former King Gyanendra and second was to bring the Maoist rebels to the mainstream through peaceful negotiations. "We wanted to end violence and the war, which was in the first place fought unnecessarily," he said.

Stressing that the Maoists took to the jungle even when all democratic means were available for expression of grievances and negotiations, Mr. Oli pointed that a Communist government was formed in 1994, the same time when the Maoists decided to launch a "People’s War."

He said that after the success of the Jana Andolan II and election of the CA, the first objective was completed with the declaration of Nepal as a Republic. "But democracy came under attack as the second goal could not be completed," Mr. Oli said.

The CA polls were held three years ago and the first meeting of the CA meeting on May 28, 2008 declared the country a republic. The CA was given a two-year tenure. But two extensions have taken place since then. The first was a one-year extension in 2010 and the second was a three-month extension decided on May 28, 2011.

Mr. Oli, who has played a key role in the democratic struggles in Nepal and have spent 14 consecutive years in prison, argued that the problem lies in the Maoist ideology. He blamed the Maoists of attempting a complete State capture in the name of revolution. "The Maoists have been in two governments after CA elections. But their actions prove that they want absolute State capture," Mr. Oli said.

Stating that Nepali society is a class society with varying interests, Mr. Oli argued that there are bound to be contradictions, interests and clashes in such a society. He, however, said that in the absence of the monarch, the Maoists are at a loss to identify their primary enemy. He blamed the Maoists for creating a "state of confusion" among the people, adding that their class enemy now is Nepali Congress. He also blamed the Maoists for not joining the previous UML government headed by Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Mr. Oli argued that Maoists will not accept a democratic republic and they want to impose a "people’s democratic republic". Stating that there are no basic differences between the two types, he said that no compromise of democratic norms is acceptable to other parties in Nepal. He blamed the Maoists of being against parliamentary system. He also said that there are differences over restructuring of the state.

Mr. Oli criticized the Maoist’s policy of completing the revolution through capture of state power. He also criticized the party for not denouncing violence and said that it is not ready to manage the PLA combatants.

"We want to convince the Maoist leadership to compromise and change. And we are also ready to compromise," Mr. Oli said. He said that if the Maoists continue their current style of functioning, it will be disastrous for the country. He also claimed that the Maoist party has lost 50 percent o its strength, 75 percent popularity rate and is 95 percent down on reliability factor. "They (Maoists) are willing to sign in any document. But no implementation of the past agreements have taken place," Mr. Oli stressed. He said while incentives will be given to the Maoists, a constant pressure will be put on the Maoist leadership to change.

Responding to a query on Nepal’s economic development, Mr. Oli said Nepal lost out on economic prosperity due to a decade long civil war during which time the Maoists resorted to lootings, extortions and closing down of industries. He, however, added that tourism is one sector which remained unaffected by the insurgency. He also informed that the return of seized property during the Maoist war is an important condition put before the UCPN (Maoist) by other political parties of Nepal.

On the question of Madhesi movement, Mr. Oli said that the issue in Madhesh is of loss of identity and that the new Constitution would address the matter. He said that the problems in Terai are temporary in nature and will be adequately discussed by all political actors. Likewise, on Indo-Nepal relation, Mr. Oli said, "There are no issues between Nepal and India which cannot be resolved amicably."

(This report is prepared by Akanshya Shah, Associate Fellow, Observer Research Foundation)

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