As the date of expiry of the Constituent Assembly is coming closer, regressive and reactionary forces are trying to sabotage the process of constitution making through the CA. Whether in the name of reviving the 1990’s regressive constitution or pressing us to produce the new constitution, the hidden agenda behind them is to sabotage the CA. I don’t think such a wish will be fulfilled in this context when the CA has already completed more than 80 percent of its job. Of course, we don’t have a draft ready for public but we are in a position to make the skeleton of the constitution. In the last three years, we were able to settle many issues related to the rights of the people. We have to accept the fact that we are unable to promulgate the new constitution by May 28. We have still time to produce a concise draft even before May 28 but what is required is the consensus among country’s major political parties about such a draft. If we can make a concise draft, people will allow us for extension of the CA tenure.
If the tenure of CA will expire now, it will create a big power vacuum. As an elected body of the people, CA has legitimacy to rule the country and draft the constitution. Knowing this, our party has already proposed for the extension of its tenure. I think other political parties will also agree on our proposal to prepare a draft of the constitution and seek an extension of the tenure. In the process of integration, we have seen many a progress in recent times. If all of us agree to work together, the peace process will see a logical conclusion.
As all of us know that no CA in the world drafted the constitution merely in three years time. As it is a very complex process, it always needs adequate time. We have to accept the fact that we were unable to perceive this thing in the course of writing the interim constitution. We need to tell this fact to the common people of Nepal who have made all kinds of sacrifices to transform the country. If we tell them all our constrains and our mistakes, Nepalese people will back us again. We are making the constitution which will protect the rights of the people. Of course, a constitution can be written within a week but people may reject it in case we are unable to address their problems. Nepal has its own experience as it has experimented half a dozen constitutions but people rejected them one after another because they didn’t own them.
Nepal has been passing through a serious political crisis as the tenure of Constituent Assembly coming to a close after its one year extension. UCPN-Maoist waged twelve years of people’s war to establish the right of the people by writing the constitution through the elected Constituent Assembly. This is a historic achievement of Janandolan II.Of course, CA is unable to produce the constitution in the three years tenure but it does not give the right for somebody to dissolve it without the completion of the historic verdict of the people. If CA is dissolved, it will create a political vacuum where the reactionaries and regressive forces will benefit and the country will once again enter into severe conflict. In this context, the time has come for the leaders of major political parties to take a decision about extending the tenure of CA until writing the new constitution. Given the nature of current political crisis, there is no alternative to the extension of the Constituent Assembly.
As country’s major political parties UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are divided, the voices of regressive forces are coming out loud. I don’t think such forces will make any changes in the course of history. History has already drawn the line of Nepal as the country is now federal, secular, and democratic republic. Some forces are making efforts to revive the old and redundant constitution; I don’t think people will accept it. It is merely a wish to believe the revival of monarchy and Hindu state. The mandate given by the people of Nepal through People’s Movement is the verdict of the country. UCPN-Maoist joined the mainstream after all other parties agreed to go for the election to the Constituent Assembly.
We need to frankly admit the fact that all of us have committed some mistakes. Due to our mistakes, we are unable to promulgate the constitution by time or May 28. We must convey this message to the people and ask them for its extension for some time so that we can write the constitution through the CA. Writing the constitution is not an easy task as it involves very complex processes of power sharing and forms of government. The issues like restructuring of state is very tricky as regressive forces who don’t want to empower the people always conspire against federal state saying that it will split thecountry. It is not true-- the federal system will further strengthen the country.
UCPN-Maoist is very aware about the situation. There is a conspiracy against people’s movement and people’s war. Even foreign forces are actively interfering in our internal affairs. For instance, the UN is trying to interfere with our internal affairs by raising the issue related to People’s War.
Foreign interference is unacceptable to us. If we allow the tenure of CA to pass, the country will turn into a playground of external forces Extension of the tenure of CA with certain commitment will be the best solution for the present time.
(Sapkota is the Minister of Information and Communication. This is based on his talk with journalists)