POLITICS:The Prez’s Prod

After the intervention of President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, members of High Level Political Committee and CPN-Maoist finally agreed to hold talks

Aug. 8, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -5 Aug. 9- 2013 (Shrawan 25, 2070)

Although national and international actors have been making efforts to ease the political tension that existed among the country's major political forces over the holding of elections, one is yet to see tangible changes in the stand of major political parties.

Although talks was held on Tuesday between HLPC and Maoist led alliance, it failed to break deadlock after agitating CPN-Maoist led alliance of 33 political parties has demanded the postponement of all election-related activities including the calendar of events announced earlier by the Election Commission (EC) for the polls scheduled for November 19.

They still lock horns over the issue over holding the elections on November 19. CPN-Maoist argues that the postponement of election of November 19 is the prerequisite to hold the negotiations. Similarly, four parties have been saying that they can negotiate on any issue other than postponement of the elections. The deadlock is likely to continue given the present circumstances.

Dr. Yadav, who met top leaders from three major political parties, UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala, made efforts to thwart the political crisis. However, nothing has materialized yet.

At a time when the country’s major political parties are heading towards a confrontational course making elections uncertain, president Dr.Yadav’s initiative is likely to prevent clashes and is likely to pave the way for elections.

Nepal's development partners, particularly western countries, are pursuing the elections, hoping that they will end the era of unaccountable government. Even the Chinese are backing the elections in hopes that the new elected government will handle China's concerns strongly than the present government.

In its meeting with Nepalese leaders, Indian leaders are also stressing elections. Indian prime minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh and other Indian political leaders urged Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala to hold the elections.

Although CPN-Maoist led alliance agreed to sit for negotiations with the four parties, it is yet to be clear whether parties can make any breakthrough.  Since CPN-Maoist leaders are still saying that postponement of elections of November 19 is a pre-condition, any breakthrough is unlikely any time soon.  

Likewise, the four parties’ high level committee has also agreed to talk with two other parties, Federal Socialist Party and Madheshi  Janadhikar Forum Nepal.  They too are demanding the resignation of present Khil Raj Regmi led government and conciliation of 11 point agreement as a pre-condition to take part in the elections. Although the demands are too difficult to fulfill, President Dr. Yadav’s current move is likely to ease the political tension.

Consequences

The recent move of the President is likely to create a conducive environment for negotiations. However, it is unlikely to change the political situation or force the disgruntled parties to take part in elections.

The publication of the election program by the Election Commission is helping spur the election campaigns in the districts, although political uncertainties will continue for some time to come.

The report of the security committee is likely to give a bargaining strength to the government and four political parties in negotiations with the disgruntled political parties.

The arrest of Chinese citizens will increase the engagement of China in Nepal. This will further sensitize the Indian security establishment. It is likely that the longer this government lasts and Nepal fails to hold the elections, the more the irritation will be to Nepal's neighbors as well as the western community.

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