NEPAL’S PEACE PROCESS AT THE CROSSROADS

COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 17 May 2009

Bishnu Pathak, Ph.D.

Setting

The fluid political situation of the country culminated in the Government of Nepal ousting the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), Rookmangud Katawal, and appointed Lt. General Kul Bdr. Khadka as Acting Head of the Nepal Army (NA) at 11.30 Hrs. on May 3, 2009. Alleging the executive power holder government’s decision unconstitutional, president Dr. Ram Baran Yadav directed  Katawal to continue his office later that day at 23.00 hrs in the name of national interest (without  quoting any article in the interim constitution (IC) or the army act. The president’s decision to override the elected Prime Minister (PM) finally compelled Puspa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) to resign from the post of Prime Minister at 4.25 hrs the following day on moral ground. He was appointed on August 15, 2008, four months after the CA elections where PM Girija Prasad Koirala was thrown from the government. PM Prachanda worked for 263 days (8.75 months).

Resignation Speech

In his last television address to the nation, Prachanda stated he stepped down aiming to end the dual regime created by the president, which is against the constitution and democracy, and to save the peace process.  Excerpts have been given below:

·    “Following the great decade-long People’s War and Jana Andolan, the elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA) been held successfully and turned the country into a federal democratic republic, ending the centuries old monarchy.”

·    “Various national and international regressive and status quo elements are inserting a conspiracy against the young republic, national independence, rapid socio-economic transformation, and development.”

·    “The Maoists achieved the clear majority on the first past the post (FPTP) and became the largest party on the proportional representation (RP) in the CA elections due to its new thought, new leadership for the sake of new Nepal.”

·    “The programs and policies and annual budgets are hindered on various pretexts, but vast sums to villages could not be implemented. It was done because the reactionaries and status quoits within and outside the nation attempted to block a popularly elected government from implementing the progressive agendas and make the government fail.”

·    “Committing on multi-party competitive democracy, federalism, rule of law, human rights, and press freedom, the Maoists have given the highest priority to logically conclude the peace process, draft a popular constitution on time, to ensuring socio-economic transformation, and to protecting national sovereignty.”

·    “The army should remain under the unconditional control of the democratically elected government. The conflict between the elected government and the army not only happened this time but also on Poush 1, 2017 (December 15, 2060) and Marg 19, 2062 (February 1, 2005).”

·    “The elected government gave an opportunity to clarify to the CoAS its duties and responsibilities and took action to remove him from office as he disobeyed the policies and plans of the government repeatedly.”

·    “The Maoists attempted to seek national consensus with parties both within and outside the government, but political crisis suddenly emerged when the president took a blatant unconstitutional and undemocratic move to continue the term of the CoAS against the decision of the executive power holder elected government.”

·    “To raise voice against the move and to take the necessary action, the Maoists urge all democratic and patriotic forces to pressure the president to correct his unconstitutional step and guarantee civilian supremacy over the Army.”

CONTINUE READING IN THE ORIGINAL – CONFLICT STUDY CENTER, NEPAL

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 17 May 2009.

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