‘Dahal must bring alliance in statute writing process’

‘Dahal must bring alliance in statute writing process’

Jun 28, 2014-

After forming a working alliance with four Maoist parties from outside the Constituent Assembly (CA), the UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal should work to bring them in the constitution drafting process instead of being influenced by them, leaders and observers say.

Ruling party leaders, expressing fears that the alliance could drag the UCPN (Maoist) out of the constitution drafting process, have sought a renewed commitment from Dahal on drafting a new constitution.

The third largest party in the CA has forged an alliance with CPN-Maoist, CPN (Maoist) led by Matrika Yadav, Revolutionary Communist Party Nepal led by Mani Thapa and CPN (Unified) led party Pari Thapa. The alliance aims to launch a joint struggle for promulgating a new constitution that ensures the progressive restructuring of the state, identity-based federalism right to self-determination and liberation of margnalised and oppressed communities.

The five parties made an official announcement of the alliance on Saturday, underscoring a party unification as their ultimate goal.

But the move has raised doubt among leaders and observers that Dahal’s commitment on peace and constitution could be shaky after joining hands with the parties who oppose the idea of drafting a new constitution through the CA. Those parties boycotted the November 19 election stating that the CA cannot write a new constitution.  

A joint statement issued by five parties stated that they will come up with a common position on the key contents of the new constitution. The UCPN (Maoist) will struggle inside the CA while others will take to the streets to incorporate their agenda in the new constitution, the statement reads. They will form a cross-party taskforce to prepare a common document about the contents of the new constitution. The parties insist that they are not against the constitution drafting process.

“The alliance should not affect the constitution drafting process because both UCPN (Maoist) and other parties do not have alternative to draft a new constitution,” said political analyst Jhalak Subedi, adding that the alliance was an effort to reclaim the lost political space. “It is an attempt to regain the power in the CA as well as in the streets after those communist parties became weak in the November 19 election.”

Dahal, who had been desperate to forge such alliance after the election debacle, has defended the move claiming that even the ruling parties have given a nod to hold an all-party round-table as demanded by the fringe communist parties. “The main purpose of the alliance is to bring the parties outside the CA on board the constitution drafting process,” reiterated the UCPN (Maoist) chairman. “This is a serious alliance whose main aim is to make an identity-based constitution,” Dahal added. “Promulgating a new constitution keeping those parties in isolation will not address the political deadlock.”

Dahal is in consultation with Madhes-based parties to make alliance with them on the issues related to new constitution. “The alliance has paved the way for the party unification,” said CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya at a program organised to announce working alliance.

While making an announcement to launch a movement to maintain national sovereignty, the five parties demanded the unequal treaties signed with India be scrapped. The leadership of working alliance would be on a rotational basis and meeting of alliance would take place once a month.

The working alliance has not gone down well with the Baburam Bhattarai faction of the party.

“It has certainly raised questions about our commitment to the peace and constitution. Let’s lee what will be its impact. The four Maoist parties have pledged to join the constitution drafting process,” said Devendra Poudel, a leader close to Bhattarai.

Another top leader close to Bhattarai said it is meaningless to forge a working alliance with the parties that are against peace and constitution. “The alliance may have provided some relief, we would be happy if it brings all parties to the constitution drafting process.” said the leader.    

CPN-UML leader Pradeep Gywali said the alliance could be detrimental to the statute drafting process. “Before forging an alliance, the UCPN (Maoist) should have sought commitment from the four parties on the promulgation of a new constitution,” said Gywali. “As a signatory of Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Dahal should assure publicly that he is committed to the peace and constitution drafting process. Otherwise, there will always be skepticism about his commitment to the constitution.”

Published: 29-06-2014 08:27

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