OPINION POLL Majority Against Federalism

A majority of people express their opinion on whether to make Nepal as a federal state<br>A CORRESSPONDENT

May 1, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. : 04 No.-21 April 29-2011 (Baisakh 16,2068)

Three major Madheshi Parties, Madheshi  Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik), Terai Madheshi Loktantrik Party and Nepal Sadbhavana Party handed over a memorandum of understanding to prime minister Jhala Nath Khanal threatening that they will revolt in case the CA rejects their demand of one Madhesh and One Pradesh and does not promulgate the new constitution by May 28.


“If Constituent Assembly does not accept our demand of one Madhesh and One Pradesh, we will call a mass revolt in terai,” said Rajendra Mahato, chairman of Nepal Sadbhvana Party. “We cannot compromise on one Madhesh and One Pradesh.”


A front led by Laxman Singh Tharu called indefinite strike in Tharuhat area opposing the move of Madheshi party to make their province under one Madhesh and One Pradesh.


“We have our own identity and there is now question to live under Madhesh Pradesh as there is no history of such Pradesh. We want Tharuhat autonomous state with right to self determination,” said Tharu.


Similarly, Limbuwan Parties in eastern region have issued a threat to launch armed struggle if the CA does not declare eight districts of eastern Nepal as Limbuwan. “Historically, eight districts east of Kosi river are part of Limbuwan,” said leader of joint front Kumar Lingden. Another ethnic group Khumbuwan wants separate state in eastern hills.


Along with the demands of regional parties, the major political parties are yet to agree on modality and geographical areas of federal Nepal. Although State Restructuring Committee of CA has already proposed 14 provinces in federal Nepal, Nepali Congress is pressing for a Constitutional Experts committee to take a decision.


At a time when there are wider disputes over the federal model among the major political parties and regional groups, a recent opinion poll conducted by Nepal Interdisciplinary Analysts (Nepal-IDA) between 31 January to 22 February 2011, showed a majority of Nepalese expressed their views against federalism.


The findings on the whole point to the negative associations of federalism in the minds of the common man and women. Majority of the people (62 percent), however, professed ignorance which need not come as a surprise since 51 percent had said either they have not heard of it or they do not know/ cannot say.

According to the Survey, various questions pertaining to federalism were asked in the opinion poll. In a question ‘have you heard about federalism?’ about half, 49 percent, reported that they have heard about federalism. However, around 34 percent reported that they have not heard about it. A significant percent 17 percent, said they didn’t not know. Among 49 percent of all respondents, 68 percent cited Radio and television as main sources.


In the question what do you think are the most important responsibilities for state under the federal system? Mostly 60 percent were unable to respond to the question. About 12 percent reported that Nepal should not be a federal state.  Asked to the 32 percent people who reported having heard federalism what should be the basis for the establishment of federalism? 13.4 percent said it should be based on ethnicity and 26.7 said Nepal should not be a federal state.


The opinion poll showed that majority of people are against the main value of Interim Constitution proclaimed as major ingredients of 12 point agreement between UCPN-Maoist and seven parties alliance. Along with federalism, people rejected democracy without monarchy and secularism.


Vote For Monarchy
The majority of Nepalese are against the current political trends, according to the survey. The main findings also showed that majority of people have lost faith in Constituent Assembly.


In the poll, 48 percent respondents said that they will vote for monarchy with democracy and 43 percent said they would vote for democracy without monarchy.  Only 8 percent population expressed they don’t know.


Hindu Vs Secular
On the question of Hindu or Secular state, people expressed that Nepal should be a Hindu state rather than secular state. Majority of the people consider that the CA would not able to promulgate the new constitution by May 28. “The fact that more than half professed ignorance need not come as a surprise since 51 percent had said either they have not heard of it or they don’t know. The findings on the whole point to the negative associations of federalism in the mind of the common man and woman.”


Despite declaring Nepal as a secular state, 57.3 percent respondent thinks that Nepal should be Hindu state against 33.7 supported secular states.


On CA Members
One of the other interesting revelations is that 61 percent of people participated in the public opinion expressed negative views on the activities of CA members and a much higher proportion, 65 percent, thinks the country is moving in the wrong direction.


On public perception of political parties, UCPN-Maoist has gone down by 8 percent and those who reported Nepali Congress has increased by 5 percent points and those who are reported CPN-UML has also increased by 4 points.


At a time when leaders of major political parties have been saying that it is almost impossible to promulgate new constitution by May 28, large number of population also expressed similar views in a nation-wide opinion poll.


CA and Constitution
According to opinion poll, only 9 percent think that the CA would be able to formulate the new constitution by May 28, 2011 while a big majority 57 percent thinks that the CA would not be able to


Promulgation of constitution by May 28 is impossible. “Political leaders must sit together and take a decision to prevent the crisis,” said chairman of Constitutional Committee Nilamber Acharya.


On public perception of political parties, UCPN-Maoist has gone down by 8 percent and those who  reported Nepali Congress has increased by 5 percent points and those who are reported CPN-UML has also increased by 4 points.  But, 47 percent people have reservation over whom they will vote in case the elections are held now. Among respondent 13 percent said they will vote for Nepali Congress, 10 percent mentioned that they will vote for Maoist and 8 percent for CPN-UML. About 1 percent reported RPP-Nepal and MJF.


Public  Level Trust
The highest average level of trust is for the media in general newspaper 7.1, TV 6.7 and radio 6.1. The lowest average level of trust is for political parties in general 3.6 and Maoist combatant 3.6. The average level of trust is relatively high for Nepali Army 5.9, civil society/NGOs 5.8, Election Commission 5.8. The average level of trust is relatively low political youth organization.

 

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