Home Contact Us  
   

Nepal - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4168, 7 November 2013
 

IPCS Discussion

Contemporary Nepal: Elections, Constitution-Making and Internal Politics
Roomana Hukil
Research Officer, IRES, IPCS
Email: roomana@ipcs.org
 

Dr Nishchal Nath Pandey
Director, Centre for South Asian Studies, Nepal

The current situation of Nepal can be discussed through three scenarios.

Scenario I: The real strength of the 33 political parties led by CPN-Maoist’s cadre and capacity to forcibly disturb the polls is highly contestable. However, there is an apprehension that in order to avoid mass arrest of its cadres, it is safeguarding them. There are strikes called from 11 November to 19 November 2013 and as evident, bandhs have always been successful in Nepal. If there is a bandh on 19 November 2013, the voter turnout will be low. There have been two cases of physical assaults on candidates and the army has already been mobilised.

As a result, there are going to be some disgruntled groups, who are not going to be represented in the new Constituent Assembly (CA) on the pretext that ‘this does not represent the Nepali society’. In case the situation deteriorates after 11 November, elections will have to be postponed and the legitimacy of the present chief justice-led government will automatically be questioned.  
 
Scenario II: A hypothetical situation that is characterised by sporadic events such incidents of a few assassination attempts, blasts, etc. But the elections are still held with approximately 60 per cent voter turnout. The proportional representation (PR) system, in this case, will assuredly have 8-10 political parties that have just one or two seats. In all probability, it will result in a hung parliament. The Maoist, UML, Nepali Congress etc may come up with the same number i.e. 160, 150 and 140 (approximately) in a total house of 601, resulting in a very badly set-up hung parliament.

Nepal has had 19 prime ministers in 19 years. Thus, it is a very vibrant democracy. If a hung parliament comes into being this time around, a new government is expected to emerge every six months. This will result in a tragedy for the new CA as it is not a regular parliament. The objective of the CA will be to draft a new inclusive, democratic, forward-looking constitution for the country. If this, also, results in a hung parliament then the focus of the parliamentarians will be on forming and dismantling of governments. It will not be on drafting the constitution.

Scenario III: Federalism in Nepal is a tricky question because of the emergence of a new sovereign body. A new sovereign body must not adopt the issues of the old and obsolete CA. As an example, the Nepali Congress brought out its election manifesto, stating that they will go for a Westminster style of parliamentary democracy with a ceremonial president and elected prime minister upholding all powers. This is contrary to what the previous CA agreed i.e. to form a French model of political system in which powers would be shared between the president and the prime minister. Thus, we are already going backward and the problem now persists i.e. deciding the political system (Presidential or Westminster system for democracy) and federalism.

Pramod Jaiswal
Research Scholar, JNU, New Delhi

All the political parties are focusing on Madhes in the CA Election II (CA-II) as evidenced by the visits made to major cities in Madhes by all political parties (Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoists and CPN-Maoists) as well as former king Gyanendra. They are concentrating on Madhes because the Madhesi parties are fragmented and there are chances that they can gain votes in that region. Due to the high density of population, topography and climate, it is easy to campaign in Madhes.  Campaign costs are low and the level of awareness in Madhes is limited. However, it unlikely that the Madhesi parties will perform well in the upcoming elections despite a large number of Madhesi for the Madhesi leaders. In Madhes politics, caste dynamics are strong. Bijay Kumar Gachhedar might do well as he is the Tharu leader and Tharus constitute seven per cent of the population. Similarly, Upendra Yadav, a Yadav leader, may garner significant votes as Yadavs form four per cent of the total population. Teli, Suri, Kalwar, Halwai, Baniya and the other OBCs might vote for Rajendra Mahato. UCPN-Maoists might win the highest number of seats followed by the Nepali Congress.

Amb Jayant Prasad
Ambassador of India to Nepal

In the last CA, the Maoists got the maximum number of votes in proportion but did not get the maximum number of seats because of the Madhesi-dominated Tarai constituencies. In addition, the Madhes Tarai Forum (MTF) movement had taken place which allowed them to leverage their voting strength in the directly contested seats. Whereas in the PR seats, the Maoists made a big comeback whilst accumulating numbers. Therefore, out of the total number of seats in the CA, the Maoists did remarkably better than anyone else. But incidentally, only one Madhesi out of three voted for the Madhesi party in the last election. So, the great success in the national vote emerged from the fact that the Madhesis were able to take their vote from four per cent in the previous election to 11 per cent in 2008. Thus, the question is whether the Madhesi parties will repeat this performance this time.

The other issue is about the contradictions between the three main Madhesi parties i.e. a break-up of 52, 20 and 9. These three parties have been sub-divided into 14 parties. So, the same three parties are now 14 parties besides the number of the other Madhesi parties. This fragmentation of political parties in Nepal is because of the deep factions between them. The problem in their assimilation is that the PR idea clashes with the accommodation of seats.

Nowhere in the world has a Maoist insurgency or a Marxist movement dissolved the PLA under its own government save in Nepal. Nowhere in the world has a Marxist or Maoist head of government handed over power to a neutral authority only to facilitate the elections save Nepal. Additionally, 40 of those who entered the integration programme and joined the Nepalese army broke away and formed a new party, yearning to be a political force. Thus, the general positive feature of Nepal is that it has resolved some of the most intractable issues that can be seen in different parts of the world.

A major problem lies in the nature of constitution-making in Nepal. A lesson that has been learnt from the previous CA is that a constitution is essential for Nepal for the survival of its political parties or they will be swept aside. Thus, if the elections take place, the constitution will be written.  Second, on issues where they were not able to forge consensus, the speaker of the CA was in a tight spot as the constitution drafting was held-up and, thus, the full meeting was called off. Such a scenario may re-occur as the political parties have stated that if in the next six months, the drafting of the constitution is not initiated or if there is lack of consensus on an issue, it will be taken to a referendum. Therefore, if elections take place, it will be interesting to see what kind of a coalition government will be produced this time.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Sisir Devkota,
"Misjudged Challenges Ahead," 31 October 2013
Pratima Koirala,
"The Question of Dalit Representation," 16 September 2013
Sohan Prasad Sha,
"Nepal: Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist’s Election Dilemma," 16 September 2013
Sohan Prasad Sha,
"The Terai Politics and Madheshi Votes," 12 August 2013

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Pakistan: Why are Christians Being Persecuted?

Muslims in Sri Lanka: Four Reasons for their Marginalisation

Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Buddhist Radical Groups: New Alignments?

China’s Cartographic Aggression

Modi’s Thimpu Visit: Deepening India-Bhutan Relations

Malaysia, Thailand, and the Trafficking of the Rohingyas

China-Vietnam: The Oil Rig Non-diplomacy

India-China: A Water War over the Brahmaputra?

India-Bangladesh Relations: Significance of the Teesta Water-Sharing Agreement

TAPI Pipeline: Expected by 2017?

South Asia’s 2013: A Time for Elections

India & Bangladesh: A Breakthrough in Water Relations?

Indian News Media: Does it have an Impact on Policy-Making?

Addressing the Heat Wave over Brahmaputra River

South Asia: Anti-Trafficking, Flesh Trade and Human Rights

Bhutan Elections 2013

Myanmar: Unveiling ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror’

Cauvery and the Monsoon Surge

India, China and the Brahmaputra River: Beyond the Flood Data Agreement

India, China and the Brahmaputra: Understanding the Hydro-politics

Brahmaputra River Valley Authority: India and China Redefining their 'Global Commons’

India, China & the Brahmaputra: Riparian Rivalry

Review: India, Pakistan - Propelling Indus Water ‘Terrorism’ (IWT)

India, China, and Bangladesh: The Contentious Politics of the Brahmaputra River

Teesta Water Accord: Expectations for Indo-Bangladesh Water Diplomacy

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.