‘Exclusive CA’ raises eyebrows

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
‘Exclusive CA’ raises eyebrows

Sep 2, 2014-

Leaders and rights activists from the marginalised communities — women, Dalits, disabled, and LGBTI (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexuals) — are disgruntled by the 17 appointments made to the Constituent Assembly recently.

Despite numerous meetings with the political party leaders and assurances from them, the list of nominees forwarded by the Cabinet on Friday includes only two women and none from the Dalit, disabled and the LGBTI communities.

With the addition of two women (both from CPN-UML) to the CA, the total number of women in the current CA is now 174. The last CA had 197 women. Even with the nine remaining seats allocated to women, the second CA will not have as many women.  

NC leader Pushpa Bhusal, also a CA member from 2008-2012, finds the hesitancy of the party leaders to nominate as many women to the CA a blatant disregard of their commitment to represent 33 percent women in Parliament.  

“All major political parties have time and again expressed their commitment to ensure a 33 percent representation of women in Parliament. Even the Interim Constitution of 2007 supports this in principle. And yet, the leaders keep thinking that politics is about power and not about empowerment,” said Bhusal.  

Dalit leaders and rights activists are equally miffed by the exclusion of their community in the 17 names approved by the Cabinet. The community had been excluded from the 26 Cabinet-approved seats in 2008 as well.

The last CA had 50 CA members from the Dalit community, seven of whom were elected through the first-past-the-post voting. The current CA has, so far, ten less Dalit CA members.

“With the exclusion of Dalit leaders from the 17 appointments, the leaders have clearly shown how non-inclusive this CA is,” said Chakarman Bishwokarma, a legal advocate and a Dalit rights activist.

Although UCPN-Maoist is yet to nominate four candidates to the CA, Bishwokarma is not hopeful that the party which once fought for the rights of the marginalised will act any differently from NC and UML.  

Laxmi Ghalan, a gay rights activist, is as sceptical about a leader from her community being nominated to even one of the remaining nine seats. The last CA had one member from the  LGBTI community elected through the proportional representation system.

“All the political parties just used us for our votes. Without a representative in the CA, our concerns will go unaddressed,” said Ghalan.  

The disabled community too is reeling from the blow of having three people representing them in the last CA to none in the incumbent. One of the three was nominated by the Cabinet last time.

Published: 03-09-2014 09:18

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