Report from a visit to Martyr Foundation Nepal – December 2014

19. December 2014

By Sanjay Aryal, the leader of Health Team for Nepal.

The last few years have By Sanjay Aryal, the leader of Health Team for Nepal. The last few years the Health Team for Nepal has collaborated with Martyr Foundation Nepal, an organization founded in 2006 with the goal of providing free education and boarding for children who lost their parents during the civil war. There are a total of 1,400 students in 5 schools, approximately 200-250 students per school – staffed with 150 employees in total. Most schools have grades from 1 to 10. From our previous grant of 100 000 Norwegian Krone (approximately Rs. 1.4 million) MFN acquired 33 PCs (Rs. 39000 per pc). The leadership receives financial support from:

– MPs linked to the Maoist Party (maintenance and operating costs)

– Government (to construction work, land purchase, construction of schools, etc.)

MFN has decided not to receive any support from NGOs from abroad since these organizations have their own economic / political / religious interests in Nepal. But since our member Krishna Aryal always has been active politically in Nepal and is a reliable partner, MFN decided to accept our grant. MFN has monthly expenses totaling four million rupees (equivalent to about 300 000 Norwegian Krone) – this includes salaries of teachers, purchase of food and clothes for the children, etc., but does not include the purchase of land, further construction of schools etc.

During a meeting with MFN leadership in December 2014, I asked specifically about how they recruit new children to the 1st grade (since martyr children grow up and go further to higher education). Some of the children who are allowed in are poor, others orphaned, injured, physically disabled, etc. And what happens to students who now are in 10th grade? Well, it’s the first time they encounter such a problem. They are in discussions with the government about what kind of secondary education that can be offered and how.

Health is a problem in the 5 schools, because operating costs of four million rupees per month does not cover the purchase of medicines and health checks of the children. Last year, for example, 150 pupils caught chickenpox at the same time. If there are surgical problems (eg. Heart valve defects), they do not have enough money for treatment. They have started hiring a nurse per school plus buying first aid equipment. All in all, I got a good impression of the management. They have been extremely discerning with the purchase of computers: they negotiated only with sellers that offered PCs at the cheapest price.

Despite that there are only 3 people in management, they do an extremely good job. I’ve asked them to respond to our e-mails within reasonable limits, which they have promised. Now they have also received 15,000 US Dollars from Health Team for Nepal – MFN treasurer Dungan confirmed this. The children have computer courses from grade 1 to 10. And with 1 pc per 2-5 students, computer learning is not optimal. Some children do not get to touch the keyboard during a school lesson – which is why they have chosen to invest more in the acquisition of PCs.

More financial support for Martyr Foundation Nepal

13. December 2014

On the 11th of November the Health Team for Nepal transfered 15 000 US Dollars to the Martyr Foundation Nepal. The support will help the five schools that the Foundation is running to develop their capacity for teaching computer science. This was the wish of the Fondation.

After the Peace Agreement in 2006, the national democratic revolution has met many problems, there have been many faults and splits. Even so, it looks like the possibility for a more progressive constitution than the one that existed from 1990  and until the Peace Agreement, will agreed upon in 2015. There will probably also be a continued struggle to improve that constitution, once it’s in place.

The same forces that initiated the People’s War are still in the lead when it comes to strengthening the power of the Dalits, the ethnic minorities, the women, the peasants and workers.

This is why we should continue our solidarity work.

Maoist Defeat in Nepal – The Price of a Missed Opportunity

9. April 2014

Organisational issues, adjustment with the status quo and tactical errors resulted in the Nepali Maoists gaining an unfavourable image among the electorate in the second Constituent Assembly elections. This resulted in a humiliating defeat. If the Maoists reorient themselves to mass struggle and develop ideological clarity, they can work to retain most of the progressive features of the draft Constitution, nearly agreed upon in the first CA.

Shyam Shrestha is a political commentator and civil society activist based in Kirtipur, Nepal.

 

Shyam Shresta

Shyam Shresta

(The article was originally published in the January 25th issue of Economic and Political Weeky)

The results of the elections to the second Constituent Assembly (CA) of Nepal 2013 stunned the world and the Nepali Maoists in particular. Nobody had imagined that the party which emerged the largest in the 2008 CA elections with 229 seats will now emerge third in 2013 with only 80 seats. Previously, the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) or UCPN(M) had more legislators than the combined strength of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist [CPN(UML)] who had managed 223 seats in total. Now the Maoists’ strength has shrunk to be more than half of the NC-UML tally of 175 seats.

How did the Maoists suffer such a humiliating defeat in such a short period? Was this only due to “poll rigging” as they have claimed? What are the reasons behind their defeat?

Achievements

The defeat of the Nepali Maoists in the second CA elections has been even more puzzling because this has happened despite some of their major political achievements since the Jan Andolan in 2006. The 2000-year-old feudal monarchy was abolished and Nepal had become a democratic republic, almost by universal consensus in the first session of the CA in 2008. This process had been completed very peacefully despite the presence of a rebel army and the unresolved status of a long-standing Maoist insurgency. Also, due to the efforts in the CA, the highly centralised and unitary state of Nepal had been in principle transformed into a federal state. The only Hindu kingdom in the world had also been transformed into a secular state.

Other achievements were equally astounding. Many features of the Constitution in the making had a decisive socialist character and inclusive nature about them. The right to proportional, social inclusion of women, dalits, ethnic minorities, Madhesi communities, oppressed groups, workers, the poor farmers in state structures and institutions had been ensured as a form of social justice in the Interim Constitution (IC) promulgated in November 2006.1 This special right had been unanimously agreed to be included in the new draft Constitution as well.2

The rights to employment, free secondary school education, free basic health services, food, social security for children, elderly people, widows and the destitute had been ensured as the fundamental right of every citizen in the IC and the new draft Constitution as well. Besides these rights, the right to access to proper accommodation and right to free higher education for dalits and people below the poverty line had also been added in the new constitutional draft proposed by committees in the first CA.3 With these, Nepal had been transformed into a benevolent social democratic state.

The declaration of the reinstated Nepali Parliament on reserving 33% of seats for women in all the state mechanisms in 2006 was also a landmark event in the history of women’s inclusion in Nepal. Three additional important rights for Nepali women had been guaranteed in the Interim Constitution: namely, the equal right of daughters and sons to ancestral property; the right of every child to get citizenship in the name of the mother as well (children who have no father and who were born out of wedlock); and, the right to reproduction and reproductive health.4

The new draft Constitution had proposed additional progressive rights for women. Most significant of all was the right to participate at every level of the state structure in proportion to their population (from 33% earlier to 50% henceforth). It had also been unanimously agreed that if a major post in the legislature is held by someone of a particular gender, the second major post must be allotted to someone of the opposite gender. Provisions of equal say and rights for both the husband and the wife in matters of the family (including property) were also incorporated in the draft Constitution during CA deliberations.5

One of the remarkable rights accorded to workers and peasants of Nepal and written in the new draft of the Constitution was that of participation in state structures on the basis of the proportional representation and the right to strike. In addition to this, the right to proper wages and social security had also been ensured.6

The dalits of Nepal had also been provided the right to participate in all the organs, agencies and sector of state mechanisms, on a proportionate and inclusive basis for the first time, in the draft Constitution. They were now entitled to obtain seats as a form of positive discrimination – 3% at the federal level and 5% at the provincial level. Landless dalits were also entitled to get land from the state once, after the promulgation of the new Constitution. The rights accorded to dalits in Nepal enshrined in the new draft Constitution seem to be far more progressive than those accorded to Indian dalits.

The initial draft of the new Constitution had also given Madhesis, Janajatis and Muslims the right of inclusion in all the state organs at all levels and its leadership on the basis of proportional representation. The highly marginalised and endangered communities would obtain special protection rights as well.

The exemplary practice of inclusive and participatory democracy could be seen in the first CA itself. Thirty-three per cent of the members of the CA were women, 8% were dalits, 34% were Madhesis, 35% were Janajatis and 3% belonged to the Muslim community; all by itself a big breakthrough in terms of representation.

By any measure, these were not ordinary political achievements. It was a profound political revolution which had the potential to alter the historical character of Nepal’s regime completely. These achievements were clearly made possible due to the leadership and ideological vision provided by the Nepali Maoists.

Roots of the Maoist Defeat

If these political achievements were so remarkable why did Maoists face such an embarrassing defeat in the second CA elections? It is clear that the Nepali Maoists could not properly explain their achievements – their remarkable and revolutionary nature and what it could mean for livelihoods – to the electorate. Four failures of the UCPN(M) primarily played a role in their humiliating defeat.

The first failure related to the fact that while the Maoists managed to lead the transformation of the political system of Nepal, they failed to bring about such a transformation in the economic, social and cultural spheres. While they were in government (for limited periods during the first CA), they were unable to deliver anything significant or revolutionary in terms of policies or governance. The inability to follow up the “political transformation” with concomitant socio-economic reforms in the countryside – lack of progressive land reforms, for example, even though there was a commonly agreed provision in the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) that spoke of elimination of all feudal remnants through scientific land reforms. The decision of the UCPN(M) to return all land and property of absentee landlords (expropriated during the peoples’ war) was also ironic. In the absence of land reform, sufficient industrialisation and socio-economic transformation in the countryside, the vast majority of rural people, poor peasantry, working class and lower middle classes could not feel the impact of the significant political changes effected by the Maoists. These were the prominent classes who had supported the Maoists throughout the armed insurgency until the last CA elections and the very same classes chose not to endorse them in the same overwhelming manner. There was clearly a detachment from their core classes and support base for the Maoists.

The second failure was that the Maoists in their limited time in government could not manage to initiate reforms in the state apparatus leading to changes in the bureaucracy, the army, the judiciary and the police. There were clear provisions on “democratisation” of the army and the bureaucratic administration in the CPA. When the Maoists first tasted power in 2008, they did not commence any reform of the state apparatus even when the situation was ripe in their favour due to the immense popularity as the victors of the first CA and that of the Maoist leadership led by Pushpa Kumar Dahal “Prachanda” himself. Yet, the government sought to adjust with the status quo rather than initiate anticipated reforms, perhaps with the belief that a consolidation of the state machinery would prove effective later. This strategy ultimately turned out to be counterproductive. As Prachanda sought to remove the then army chief Rukmangad Katawal (even as he was due for automatic retirement very soon) as a face saving way of asserting control over the army, the move boomeranged resulting in Prachanda’s resignation.

The third failure related to the inability of the Maoist leaders and their cadre to prove themselves to be qualitatively different in their morals and functioning while in power from the rest of the polity. The Maoist party members were seen to lead a suddenly acquired lavish and corrupt lifestyle, resulting in a drop in their popularity.

The fourth and biggest failure was the inability to write a Constitution on time. While this was a collective failure as all the four major forces – the NC, the UML, the Madhesis and the Maoists – could not manage to complete the process in time, it must be said that the UML and the NC were primarily responsible. There is no doubt that the UML and NC had an active role in the dissolution of CA as its Chairperson Subhash Newang was from the UML and the chairperson of the Constitution Drafting Committee, Nilamber Acharya was from the NC. If these representatives had opted to place the contentious issues in the drafting of the Constitution for democratic voting or for a referendum within the CA, the CA process could have been successfully completed. Yet, the absence of the CA chairperson Subhash Newang in the last plenary session of the CA, which he had himself convened, and the Maoists allowing the UML and the NC pretexts to derail the CA process, resulted in the dissolution of the body. The demise of the CA became inevitable as there was a Supreme Court ruling that its tenure could not be extended beyond 27 May 2012. The two major status quoist parliamentary parties actively sought pretexts to block the promulgation of a very progressive Constitution under Maoist leadership. The Maoists tactically failed in preventing this outcome.

The main issues of contention in the first CA which led to its dissolution related to the name, number and boundary of federal provinces (state restructuring) plus the issue of form of government at the federal level. A compromise and an agreement had been possible on these issues on 15 May 2012 due to the initiative of a Contentious Issues Resolving Mechanism of CA led by Prachanda himself. The compromise was that the name of the provinces would be decided by the provincial parliaments once they were elected (11 provinces were agreed upon). The boundaries of provinces were to be decided based on recommendations by a commission comprising experts. The form of government was to be based on the mixed French model wherein there would be a directly elected president and a prime minister elected by parliament as well (provisions were to be made for clear-cut sharing of power between these two posts).

Although there were serious drawbacks in the mixed model form of government (because it could have led Nepal to political instability due to two competing power centres), the agreement made on the federal issues was more or less fine. However, the Maoist leadership withdrew immediately from the agreement due to pressure from the Madhesi parties and Janajati leaders. The withdrawal from the agreement at the eleventh hour proved to be a political blunder because there was no time left for another agreement. It gave sufficient  pretext for those who wanted the leftist-dominated and Maoist-led CA to be dissolved without producing a new Constitution. The ideological confusion within the Maoist leadership resulted in a situation where they could not come up with a clear view on what to agree upon (as a compromise) and what not. Being the biggest party in the CA, the Maoists thus became equally responsible for the dissolution of the CA without the Constitution writing process having been completed.

The Maoist leadership also committed a grave mistake in not adopting a political strategy that combined negotiations using the active support of the full house in the CA with mass agitations and street support for the progressive Constitution. The leadership engaged only in closed room battles with the leadership of the other three main political forces, and it must be said that they were outmanoeuvred by the latter, who were far more well versed in the art of parliamentary politics.

The Maoists also made the mistake of not being congenial enough after their win in 2008 in bringing about the needed consensus. If they had taken the initiative of power sharing with the NC and the UML on their own accord (without the need for elections), their leadership could have been sustained as established and unchallenged. Instead, they came across as arrogant and as being engaged in gamesmanship when they refused the choices offered for the posts of president, vice president and CA convenor, only to be foisted with the very same choices after the NC and the UML united against them.

In a way, the defeat of the Maoists in the second CA elections was an angry reaction of a highly frustrated electorate which had placed great hope in the Maoists to lead the way in the realisation of a new progressive Constitution, enduring peace, political stability, and progressive socio-economic transformation. The defeat is a wake-up call for the Maoists which should compel them to overhaul their party organisation and strategising, and correct their past mistakes.

The defeat of Maoists does not mean that the NC and the UML are more popular, not corrupt or that they are absolved of the mistakes they too had committed. The increase in the vote share of these parties seems to be the accrual of negative and reactive voting against the Maoists which begs the question whether this support would last long enough. They had other advantages, too. The splinter Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) that broke away from the UCPN(M) called for a nationwide boycott of the elections, but their cadre voted against the parent party in many places.

Institutional Rigging?

The UCPN(M) claimed that the unexpected election result was the consequence of a managed institutional rigging involving the Election Commission (EC) and the Nepal Army (NA) itself. As a mark of protest, on the very second day of vote counting, the party withdrew all of its party representatives from the counting centres and even declared that it will not accept the result. It maintained that it will not take part in the CA unless an independent probe commission is formed to investigate the alleged rigging that occurred after the voting. It has now been agreed that the new CA will form such a probe committee.

Reports indicate that a subtle institutional rigging could have taken place in some selective and targeted places. Although the voting process was generally free, fair and peaceful, there is the possibility that ballot boxes – under the supervision of the NA – were mishandled as there were no proper sealing and supervision by party representatives prior to army takeover. Following the EC directives, even those ballot boxes were accepted as valid for counting in which the seals had been broken, the cover of the boxes were open, the signature of the election officer was not verified and boxes were smaller or larger than when they were sealed.

Yet this cannot be the major cause of the Maoists’ surprising defeat because there is no evidence to suggest that this kind of malpractice occurred nationwide. It seems to have happened only in very selective and targeted places, and anecdotal evidence points to not more than 50 to 60 places in the countryside. The Maoists were not the only complainants about electoral malpractice. Other smaller parties – many opposed ideologically to the Maoists – also pointed to evidence of some degree of electoral malpractice affecting their prospects.

That is why, in the final analysis, it will be quite erroneous to conclude that the major reason of the Maoist defeat was electoral malpractice. Rigging of a relatively minor scale has been a feature of most elections in Nepal. Organisational drawbacks and mistakes committed by the Maoists as part of the power structure in Kathmandu must be seen as primary reasons for their defeat.

In the last CA elections, UCPN(M) leaders and cadres were based in the countryside and were working actively among the oppressed and working classes. But the NC and UML leaders, on the other hand, were more visibly active in the urban centres. This time around, in the second CA elections, the case was quite the opposite. With Maoist leaders and cadre concentrating their work in district centres, as these helped them thrive in patronage networks, the net result was that the base organisations of the Maoists at the grass roots were almost defunct. The Maoists’ decision to open its party to allow more and more members without proper scrutiny and ideological training saw to it that a number of corrupt, criminal and reactionary elements joined it. This was a major organisational blunder as it eroded the image of the Maoists and its popularity among the poor, in particular. Besides, the jumbo-sized district and state committees within the party acted more as obstacles rather than as help for the party. Erstwhile cadre from the Peoples’ Liberation Army who returned to their villages were dispirited after an army-integration process that was humiliating for them. Issues concerning the misuse of their rehabilitation expenses by their leadership also forced many such cadre to work to defeat their very own political leaders. The split in the Maoist party also weakened them to a certain extent.

Conclusions

The transformation of the Nepali Maoists who entered the peace process in 2006 as revolutionary liberators into the image of being status quoists within merely seven years resulted in their electoral defeat. In a way, a great revolutionary opportunity to transform the country’s regime, economy and society was missed, even as significant steps were taken to achieve a robust regime of rights and political reforms.

The defeat in the second CA elections conveys a message to the Maoists: they must undertake a serious, holistic and honest introspection right away. They have to reconstruct themselves organisationally and ideologically again. The correct path to socialism and revolution cannot be one of adjustment with the status quo.

A defeat in one election, at the same time, is by no means an end for a revolutionary force. It is only an opportunity for self and course correction. The way to victory in the war against the status quo lies in addressing the root causes of defeat, not in blaming others for it. The Maoists are, arguably, still the largest political force in terms of their organisational strength, more than that of the NC and the UML combined. The CA process, issues related to state restructuring, form and nature of government, etc, that dominate Nepal’s political agenda today are all a product of Maoist engagement in the political process. With 80 members in the CA, the Maoists can still represent the interests of Nepal’s poor, its peasantry, people of marginalised identities and its working classes effectively, and should try to retain the progressive features of the draft Constitution in the first CA. By avoiding a repetition of earlier mistakes, and by a re-engagement with the masses through mobilisations and struggle, they can certainly achieve that goal even with their reduced strengths.

Notes

1 UNDP Nepal (2009), The Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2063 (2007), Article no 21, p 72.

2 The Secretariat of Parliament (2013), Sambidhan Sabha Darpan (The Mirror of Constituent Assembly), p 354.

3 The Secretariat of Parliament (2013), pp 351-55.

4 UNDP Nepal (2009), The Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2063(2007), Article No 20, 8 and 20, respectively, pp 72 and 60.

5 The Secretariat of Parliament (2013), Sambidhan Sabha Darpan (The Mirror of Constituent Assembly), pp 352 and 354.

6 Secretariat of Parliament 2013, p 352.

Interview with the leader of CPNm, Mohan Baidya and Secretary, Dev Gurung.

13. March 2014

The maoist party that led the People’s war from 1996 to 2006 and thereafter made a Peace Agreement with the most influential parliamentary parties in Nepal, has split. There are now two parties: United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Abbreviated UCPNM and CPNM. The UCPNM participated in last year’s election for yet another Constituent Assembly. The CPNM boycotted the election. The Healthteam for Nepal supports the democratic revolution in Nepal and does not take a stand for or against the one or the other Maoist party. We collect money in support of Martyr Foundation Nepal, where both parties have influence.

Two central leaders from CPNM, leader Mohan Baidya and Secretary Dev Gurung, visited Europe this winter and Johan Petter Andresen from the Healthteam for Nepal met them in Antwerp on the First of February and made this interview.

From the Annual General Assembly of the Nepalese People's Progressive Front, Belgium, February 2014. It was chaired by Baidya and Gurung
From the Annual General Assembly of the Nepalese People’s Progressive Front, Belgium, February 2014. It was chaired by Baidya and Gurung

You are initiating the establishment of United People’s Councils (UPC). Why?

-The UPC is a united front. We are nominating Dev Gurung to be the leader of this front. The establishment of UPC will happen in the very near future. The UPC is a means of struggle and has as its primary objective to give volunteer service to the people.

Will the UPC include many parties?

-Right now we have not seen any chances for a united front with other parties. This will be a united front with our own mass organisations. It has strategic importance and not only tactical one.

Do you have any concrete conditions for starting a process of unification with UCPN(m)?

-The UCPNm has already made many mistakes during the last years. A main criticism is of the 7th congress where they made a document they mention the new democratic revolution as being completed and that they are now preparing for socialist revolution. We disagree with this political line.

-UCPNm has a serious political deviation. Nepal is still in a semi-feudal and neo-colonial situation and under international interference. Their wrongful analysis shows that they have deviated from the new democratic revolution and to national surrender. They have liquidated their politics, ideology and organisation. In the document they are also proposing a peaceful transition to socialism. All the achievements of the people’s war have been liquidated. We cannot expect unity with them. But there is an internal struggle in UCPNm. Some of the cadres want to review the documents of the Hetauda congress. If they should review their policies, then we will see if there is a chance for unity.

Have there been any changes in ruling classes the last 40 years?

-Not basically. The semi-feudal condition is the same. And the tendency is that Nepal is developing toward a new-colonial condition. There is not direct interference by the imperialists and the expansionists, but they create their puppets and apply their agenda through them in a holistic way. The main mediators are the political parties. UML has worked as a puppet for many years now. Now some leaders from the UCPNm also are being used as puppets. They made some antinational agreements with India For example: Upper Karnali and BIPPA, renovation of airports by Indian Companies and so on.

Today financial capitalism is the socioeconomic base of imperialism and national capitalism in Nepal is being neglected.

The land question is central to the class struggle in Nepal. Will you start a movement to reoccupy land?

-Of the land that we distributed during the People’s War, some was given back to the landlords. But still there are areas that the people have and we will not give them back. We will advance this movement.

-During the People’s War we captured two types of land. Firstly, we captured the land of people who played a regressive role and suppressed the people, for example small landlords. Secondly, according to the law, a landlord cannot own more than 10 bighas (appr 67 dekar or appr 16 acres).  We captured the land when landlords owned more.

We gave back the land to the regressive landlords but not the land where the landlord owned too much.

-There is a tradition in Nepal that causes problems. The problem is the fragmentation of the land. The business mafias want to fragment the land and then get the farmers to sell the land. So, we have to nationalise the land of the country.

There might be local elections in 2014, what is your attitude to these?

-The main political question is the new restructuring of Nepal. We do not think that the Constituent Assembly (CA) will introduce federalism. We have not taken any position on local elections.

-National sovereignty is being strongly undermined, there is massive interference from outside powers. We stress this issue. That is why we demand a new type of agreement between all the forces in Nepal. If a round table conference is held then we can join the process.

The round table conference will contain the same forces that are in the CA. So why is it better than the CA?

-This can be a more positive platform to base a new agreement on because the forces in it will be selected in a proportional way in relation to the population of their strata .So most of the struggling forces for federalism will be represented on this platform .

-In the CA the reactionaries have a 2/3rd majority. The background for today’s situation is that there has been a People’s War. We must ask: Why was there a people’s war? What matters have to be solved? The new forces have very few seats in the CA. This means the issues raised by the conflict will not be addressed by this CA. Of the forces leading the People’s War, one is out of the CA and the other has no value in CA. How can the issues be solved through the CA?

Has India increased its influence in Nepal?

-Since 1990 interference from India has increased rapidly. During the Panchyat system there sometimes was opposition to Indian interference. But after 1990 the expansionist forces have used the parties to forward their interests. After 1990 the main parties accepted liberalistic policies and the class struggle changed. The financial capitalists and multinational companies have now a dominating role. Nepalese economy is becoming totally dependent. Also the royalist forces have surrendered to international forces. All political issues are decided by the Indian side.  All the top officials have to be accepted by the foreign powers.

What will be the character of the new constitution?

-This CA is in the lap of reactionaries. We also say that it is impossible to expect a peoples’ federal constitution from it. UCPNm is reverting to the parliamentary system.

There are three main forces in the country now: monarchy, parliamentary forces and the maoist forces. Right now the parliamentary forces are neglecting our force and the pro-Indian forces decided to go for elections. We expect that they, on the whole, will mainly revive the 1990 constitution.

The elections in Nepal – The split resulted in a decline in representation for the revolutionary forces.

6. December 2013

By Johan Petter Andresen. Oslo 5.12.2013.

After the peace agreement in 2006 and the election victory in 2008, when the Maoists ended up with over a third of the representatives in the Constituent Assembly, disagreements internally within the revolutionary forces built up, leading to an open split in 2013, in which a large part went out of the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and formed the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (Confusingly: UCPN(M) was named CPN(M) until 2007).

CPN(M) boycott
CPN(M) put forward various demands in connection with the election that was held on the 19.11.2013. These demands were not met. Therefore they took the initiative to an election boycott in which a total of 33 parties participated. A total of 122 parties partook in the elections. That 33 parties boycotted the election must therefore be seen as a fairly high number.

How did the boycott influence the election? Some figures may give an indication. There were 17.7 million registered voters in 2008. For various reasons, those who had turned the age of 18 after December 2006 were excluded from voting. So the number could thus have been higher. 10,700,000 votes were submitted, that is to say approximately 63%. This percentage was considered high as voters had to vote in the village they came from. In Nepal there are a good number of poor who have to travel to cities for work and live there whilst their official address maintains in the village. Nepalese living abroad could not vote either. As many men were away from home, women constituted 52 % of those who voted.

In 2013, the number of eligible voters was 17.4 million. Of these, 12.1 million registered as voters. Registration procedures were much stricter in 2013 than in 2008. But it is impossible to know how many would have been registered if one had followed the same procedure both times.

One million fewer ballots

But we can see that five million fewer were registered, either of their own volition, or for other reasons. This is a big number, which naturally affected the election results. Simply put, one can say that the larger the share of the five million who deliberately boycotted the election, the greater was the decline for the revolutionaries participating in the elections. That is to say, primarily UCPN(M).

The number of the registered persons who voted was considerably higher in 2013 than in 2008. 78 % of those registered voted, compared to 63 % in 2008. This means that approximately 9.5 million voted. This means that there were one million fewer votes than in 2008. This is a strong indication that those who chose to register themselves were motivated to vote, and that the registration made ​​it difficult to register all those wanting to register, but also hindered false registrations.
Neither in 2008 or 2013 could citizens living abroad or those living far from home in Nepal vote. But probably there were more persons in this category that were registered in 2008 than in 2013, as the head of the family could enroll his family members in connection with registration in 2008. This was not possible in 2013. In 2013 one had to show up oneself for registration.

Nevertheless, we have five million fewer registered and a million fewer votes. Naturally CPN(M) supporters could claim that there were at least 5 million that supported the boycott. They can also include the 22 % who did not vote of those who were registered, ie. 2.4 million. But a more sober assessment might be that about two or three million actively boycotted. And it need hardly be said that such a large boycott had a tremendous impact in an election where 240 of the 575 representatives were elected in first past the post constituencies. And of course it was the UCPN(M) that was hurt, not the major moderate parties, the Nepali Congress (NC) or Communist Party of Nepal(United Marxist Leninist) CPN(UML) (Don’t let the names confuse you).

UCPN(M) down by 1,700,000 votes

Comparing the number of votes that the three main parties received in 2008 and 2013 might also provide a clue to the effect of the boycott campaign: Nepali Congress got 2.4 million votes in 2013 and 2.2 million votes in 2008. CPN(UML) received 2.2 million votes in 2013 and 2.1 million votes in 2008. UCPN(M) received 1.4 million votes in 2013 and 3.1 million votes in 2008. Otherwise, the Royalists increased their support by half a million votes. If we view UCPN(M)’s decline by 1.7 million votes, while the other two major parties had about the same number of votes both times, this suggests that the boycott must have had a decisive effect.

Dissatisfaction in Nepal is not only directed at UCPN(M). It’s just as great when it comes to the other major parties. It is also rumored that some revolutionaries that supported the boycotting parties took part in the elections and voted for Nepali Congress or CPN(UML) to punish the UCPN(M), not because they support the other parties.

Election results so far suggest the following allocation of seats in the new Constituent Assembly: Nepali Congress will get 196 seats. CPN(UML) will get 175 seats. UCPN(M) will get 80 seats. The two royalist parties (RPP and RPP – N) will have 33 members. Together, the new Constituent Assembly will have 601 representatives.

The election results mean that the Maoists have no chance of attaining their goal as to the content of the new constitution if they concentrate solely on parliamentary activity. Most likely, the NC and CPN(UML) will probably advocate that the new constitution should be similar to the one that the Maoists went to war against in 1996, but without the king.

Election Fraud?

There has been criticism of this year’s election, especially from the losers. UCPN(M) has appointed an investigative commission and has announced that they will not participate in the new Constituent Assembly until further notice. That there was some cheating is beyond doubt. A good indication of this is that of the 122 parties that were approved for election, 78 won less than 10,000 votes. Compared with the requirement that the parties, in order to be eligible, had to submit 10,000 signatures, must mean that many of the signatures were fake and that the control of the submitted lists was not good, to say the least. But it is difficult to see that there was more fraud in 2013 than in 2008. One factor that has been highlighted is that in 2008 the polls were guarded by designated representatives of the major rival parties. This helped secure against fraud during the period from when the voting ended and until the count began the following day. In 2013 it was the army that was responsible for guarding the ballot boxes during transport to the district centres where the counting was to take place, and until the counting began. The Maoists claim that a lot of fraud happened in those hours (between 10 and 15 hours), the question then becomes why the UCPN(M) had not insisted on another system, for example like the one in 2008. Why leave the ballot boxes in the hands of the reactionary army?

What does the loss of votes mean for the ​​UCPN(M), CPN(M) and for the democratic revolution in Nepal? This is not easy to say. The 33 boycotting parties will oppose the newly elected Constituent Assembly and will call it illegitimate. Neither will they accept the new constitution as legitimate if it is passed without their participation. UCPN(M) will surely be against the new constitution. With their 80 votes, they will not have much to say in parliament. Therefore the democratic revolution will move more out into the streets, workplaces and village squares.

Corruption Allegations
UCPN(M) has been accused of having degenerated into a regular parliamentary, corrupt party. There is no doubt that corruption exists at all levels of UCPN(M). There is also no doubt that the UCPN(M) leadership has weakened the party’s grassroots organizations, abandoned the ” mass line ” and concentrated on participating in the exercise of power in the cities. But now, when they have been punished so hard, there will have to be a cleansing of the party. And here the new CPN(M) will also play a role.

The political development in Nepal after 2006 has stagnated. It is not normal that the Constituent Assembly elected in 2008 did not manage to make a new constitution. Nothing important for ordinary folk in the Peace Treaty of 2006, has been realized. Most importantly, the point about land reform has in no way been realized.

The main change is that the form of the state is more democratic in that royal power has been removed. But the army is intact with a very small proportion of former Maoist soldiers having been incorporated. The Maoist army has been disbanded and closed down.

All in all things looks bleak considering how high people’s aspirations were both internally and internationally for the Maoists representing something new. Historically, both the Nepali Congress and CPN(UML) led armed rebellions that ended up with parts of their armed forces being incorporated into the army or the police and the leaders becoming part of the upper class in the towns, and especially in the Kathmandu Valley. And so it may seem that things can develop this time too, but not necessarily.

Firstly, there is an organized left opposition in the form of CPN(M). Second, there is still a struggle over political line in the UCPN(M).

CPN(M) lacks a credible alternative
Regarding the CPN(M), it is not possible to perceive a real alternative strategy to the UCPN(M). Before the election, their main demand was a round table conference where all the major political forces in the country were to gather to agree on fundamental issues.

But that this is an alternative strategy to the elections that have been held is hard to see, as a round table conference would involve having to agree with Nepali Congress and CPN(UML) about important issues. This does not seem realistic. Both these parties stood on the opposite side during the People’s War.

The split itself appears to have led to diminished overall Maoist influence. But time will tell if the internal political struggle concerning the best way forward, will provide better solutions on how the revolution should be pursued.

Seen from the outside, the weakening of the grass root organizations of the UCPN(M) and lack of interest in the common day to day struggle to improve people’s living conditions, are key mistakes. There is no doubt that UCPN(M) and CPN(M) together represent a large popular movement. The inability to develop this movement after the Peace Agreement in 2006, shows that the leadership was good at war, but has so far lacked the ability to lead the fight further for organized people’s power.

Elections for a new Constituent Assembly on the 19th of November. Interviews about UCPNm and CPNm.

30. October 2013

The Health Team for Nepal (HfN) supports the democratic revolution in Nepal and has not taken a position concerning the split that has led to the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPNm) as an alternative force to the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPNm). We are channelling our support to the Martyr Foundation of Nepal where both organisations have influence.

It looks like that there will be elections for a new Constituent Assembly on the 19th of November 2013 where the UCPNm will be participating, while the CPNm is actively boycotting.

As a part of our work to monitor the developments in Nepal and to better understand the political situation as it is unfolding, we have conducted an interview with a representative supporting the CPNm and an interview with UCPNm.

These interviews are published here on our web site in both English and Norwegian.

Interview with Gorkha Bishnu, advisor to the Nepalese People’s Progressive Front Belgium.

24.10-2013.

HfN: It looks like there will be elections for a new Constituent Assembly on the 19th of November and that CPNm and a group of smaller parties will boycott these elections.

Could you tell us a little about the size and influence of the CPNm and their allied parties?

Firstly, we can say that politically and ideologically the CPNm is sole leader of the movement of New Democratic revolution in Nepal. This movement encompasses the movements for National Sovereignty and People’s Supremacy. There are also other forces that are patriotic and oppose foreign interference in Nepal. It is of course during these times a need to ally with those forces in the struggle against the fascists and national traitors. The drama surrounding yet another election to a Constituent Assembly is completely in the interests of the feudals and fascists of Nepal and their allies, the foreign expansionists. The elections are not in the interest of the Nepalese People or their freedom. The class character of the drama surrounding the elections has been exposed. The CPNm is well integrated with the Nepalese People. So, I could say that the CPNm is the central power centre against the regressive line followed by the so called four political parties and their allies.

The party has successfully formed its organizations on village level and in all districts too. It is now in the position to challenge the regressive forces.

HfN: The CPNm has demanded that the prime minister resign from his post as Chief of Justice. Why?

We struggled hard to abolish Monarchy in Nepal. Many good sons and daughters contributed their lives in this struggle. The so called four political parties dissolved the Constituent Assembly and put the nation in a deep crisis. Consequently, they became political failures. So, they cannot lead the nation. Instead of seeking a new, forward looking democratic political solution, they undermined the multiparty democratic system and handed over the state power to the Chief of Justice. This is practicing fascism and against the people’s mandate.

HfN: The CPNm has demanded a round table conference before the election. Why does this have to be before the election? Wouldn’t the representatives that get elected into the Constituent Assembly be representative of the will of the Nepali people?

A round table conference before the Constituent Assembly can be the best option to reach a broad political agreement. This conference should be a formal and legal institution. It is very important in two ways. Firstly, we need to evaluate the efforts of the representatives in the first Constituent Assembly and to accept the contents of the interim constitution that was already agreed upon. Secondly, the political parties need to seriously realise the mistakes they did in the Constituent Assembly. It is clearly known that the so called four largest political parties stood against the agenda of federalism on the basis of identity and oppressed position. The political parties must promise to agree on the agenda before the conference.

HfN: What would be the agenda of a round table conference?

A roundtable conference should mainly treat the two above mentioned agendas. When we look at the manifestos of the political parties for the new election, we see that they have nothing new in relation to the previous elections in 2008. They look even more promising and are in reality sticking to an anti-autonomous ideology. UCPNm proposes autonomy on the basis of Nationality and exploited region. But history has proven that this party already has left the ideology of the New Democratic Revolution, the road of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They already follow the revisionist line and openly serve the foreign powers. In the last Constituent Assembly there was a two third’s majority on the proposal of federalism on the basis of indigenous nationality and oppressed regions. In that situation, Prachanda –President of UCPNm and Coordinator of High Level Dispute Committee –and Baburam  Battharai, Vice President of the UCPNm and the then Prime Minister dissolved the Constituent Assembly. This clearly proves that the leaders of the UCPNm themselves acted to avoid the agenda of federalism with autonomy in the interests of expansionist and imperialist forces. So, the four political parties want to form a new Constituent Assembly in which the majority of the representatives will be against the restructuring of the nation. We can imagine the horrific scene of the elections and their results in advance. They are controlled by the military and under the leadership of the feudal PM Regmi. So, the roundtable conference is to stop all the regressive moves and to establish national sovereignty and people’s supremacy.

HfN: The CPNm says that they will boycott the elections peacefully. What type of actions are they planning? Why are they ruling out more forceful actions like disrupting the poll?

As these elections are promoting fascism in Nepal the Nepalese people will oppose and destroy them. There will be massive peaceful people’s awareness programmes and an anti-election campaign throughout the country. If the government suppresses the movement of the people, they have right to resist and revolt. CPNM of course will lead it.

HfN: During the last elections in 2008 approximately 63 % participated in the polls. What kind of turn out do you expect this time? Would you consider that the campaign against the elections has failed if the turnout is 60 percent?

No. If you compare the number of voters in 2008 and 2013, you will find less number in 2013. It is the effect of the campaign. The Government uses hook and crook to increase the amount of voters.  Voters of Indian origin are mainly motivated to register. Thousands of Indian citizens have been granted Nepalese citizenship in the run up to the elections. These elections are absolutely meaningless for the people. In the manifesto of the CPN-UML they mention that if there is no constitution within a year, the country should have a referendum. They, themselves, have no belief in the Constituent Assembly. There is a big section of intellectuals, lawyers, journalists and so on who have not registered in the voters’ list. Politically, the CPNm is already in a winning position.

HfN: A central demand during the people’s war was land reform. There has not been any land reform, even though the Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution contained points on this. On the contrary some of the land occupied during the people’s war has been given back to the original owners without the introduction of a land reform. What is the role of the CPNm in this situation? What are the main paroles and actions?

The contents you mentioned are central parts of the agenda of the new democratic revolution. It took time to understand that Prachanda gave up the revolution and instead created the peace accord and the interim constitution. So, the issue of land reform in the peace accord and interim constitution was not real. Later on, the achievements of People’s War have been given up one by one. When we became aware of the evil intent of Prachanda, we struggled intensely against neorevisionism. We are determined to complete the new democratic revolution in Nepal .It is only this revolution that can solve the problems you mention.

HfN: In the last Constituent Assembly there was almost 30 % representation of women. It seems that there will be a strong decrease in the representation of women after new elections. What are your remarks on this?

In the last Constituent Assembly election, there was a strong motivation from the People’s War for women’s participation. People’s War established different autonomies on the basis of indigenous nationality and exploited regions. Likewise specific rights were given to women and to so-called untouchable casts, Muslims, some diminishing communities, handicapped and so on. The People’s War gave strong motivation women’s participation. Now, they do not believe that they can guarantee their rights through these elections. So, the women’s participation is decreasing.

HfN: An important issue in today’s Nepal is federalism. What is CPNm’s position on the number of states and the relation between these states and the larger national minorities?

As I mentioned above, CPNm is for autonomous regions on the basis of indigenous nationalities and regions having a central role for some years, specific rights for women, for untouchable casts, for Muslims, for some diminishing communities, handicapped and so on.

HfN: The Terai has seen a massive growth in population relative to the rest of Nepal and there is at the same time controversy concerning the Madhesh issue. What is CPNm’s attitude to the Madhesh-question?

We are struggling for the right of the Nepalese People and they are of course Madheshi People too. While restructuring the country, if measures aren’t taken to bring the workers and farmers and oppressed to have the leading role in the struggle for autonomy, the same situation as in the old system will continue to exist. History shows that the ruling class does not let the workers and farmers become rulers. This is the central question of struggle now throughout the nation and the Madheshi people as well.

HfN: How do the CPNm formulate their political general line in the situation in Nepal today? How do they see the rise of people’s power in Nepal?

Politically, Nepalese People should struggle against the neo revisionism protected by expansionism. The goal of holding the elections to the Constituent Assembly in Nepal is to lengthen the time of the feudals and revisionists. So it is the duty of the Nepalese People to resist the elections.

HfN: What is the content of the expression “people’s revolt” that is sometimes used by members of CPNm?

Nepalese People have been living for decades in poverty and misery. They carried out 10 years of People’s War and many peaceful movements to establish their rights. But their efforts all went in vain. In all the historic moments some of the leaders of the political parties betrayed them and their struggle ended without any achievement. This negative history of the Nepalese People should be broken with and the people should revolt themselves in order to have a complete change and shattering the old state . It is a necessary way of struggle and CPNm will lead it. I see a bright future for the People’s Revolt in Nepal.

HfN: Do you see any possibility of party unification between CPNm and UCPNm in the near future?

In this context I do not see any possibility of party unification. If the UCPNm completely realized its mistakes and came to CPNm it could happen.

HfN: How does the CPNm communicate with English reading people on the internet?

The International Department issues a bulletin called People’s Voice.

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Interview with Krishna Aryal, representative of UCPNm in Europe.

HfN: What is your main goal for the elections for a new Constituent Assembly (CA)?

UCPNm: The main goal of the election for a new CA is to institutionalize the achievements gained in the past by the 10 years long people’s war and people’s movements. The achievements, like the People’s republic of Nepal, a secular state, rights for the ethnic minorities-, oppressed communities- and oppressed gender, the abolition of regional discrimination: All this must be capitalised by writing a constitution,  “Federalised with the identity and constitution with federalism” based on a fresh mandate. As outlined in the party’s election manifesto, it will be attempted to write the constitution within a year. This is a commitment to the people.  The first half year will be utilised to create a necessary consensus among the political parties. If one fails to get consensus, the next half year will be used to settle the most debated issues by voting. The debated issues are a new governing system, federalism with identity and the capacity and the number of autonomous states. A new rule and order will be made after the new constitution.  The period up to the next election will be used for developmental issues in the country.

HfN: What is your aim as to representation in the CA from your party for women?

UCPNm: The issue of gender discrimination will be addressed in the new constitution. Women representatives must play an active role to address their rights in politics, property, education and employment. Women candidates will be given maximum priority so that they will have a decisive presence in the CA. Some of the most important gender issues are equal rights, equal opportunities and equal payment for the same work and qualification.

HfN: What is your aim as to representation for Dalits and indigenous minorities?

UCPNm: The aim is to have representation for Dalits and indigenous minorities and to address the issues of oppressed and marginalised people in society. Dalit communities, ethnic minorities and other minority groups wish to secure their rights in the new constitution.  This is also important because of the aim of people’s war was to give rights to the Dalits and indigenous minorities. Our party has been struggling for social justice and identity.

HfN: The CPNm and 32 other parties are boycotting the elections. There was a 63 percent participation rate in the elections in 2008. Would it be a victory for the CPNm and its allies if the turnout was under 60 percent?

UCPNm: Among the 33 parties, CPNm, Limbuwan and Khambuwan are active in boycotting the CA election. Other smaller parties have nominal presence.  Some of the parties are taking part in CA election, whereas some of them have strongly opposed the on-going physical attacks on UCPNm’s candidates.  Although boycotting the CA election is said to be remain peaceful, CPNm has been aggressive. There have been many attacks in several districts.  This means that the 33 parties are divided and split among themselves. The government has been planning to provide extra security for the candidates and the people. It is expected that people will be allowed to come and cast their votes freely without any fear. According to the Election Commission and media sources, there are around 12.5 million people registered and have their identity card with a photograph. The ID-card is mandatory for voting. This registered number seems to be about 4.5 million less this time compared to the numbers in the last CA election in 2008. The main reason for less registration is missing the deadline for registration. Many are working in foreign countries. Some people may have lack of interest in voting for new CA due to frustration from the last CA which could not give a new constitution.  Some people may have not registered intentionally to boycott the election.

A person must be present on the Election Day with his/her own ID-card in order to vote.  The voting percentage in the CA election in 2013 is expected to be more than 70 percent of the registered number.

HfN: What is your impression of the size and influence of the CPNm?

UCPNm: CPNm has said “boycott CA election peacefully”. The party CPNm has only a few cadres and supporters.  Boycotting the CA election will have very little influence.  Many of the supporters of CPNm may cast their votes to for the UCPNm and its candidates. On the other hand, people may not cast their votes due various reasons.   Those who are absent from voting, are not necessarily  supporting CPNm.

HfN: An important issue in today’s Nepal is federalism. What is UCPNms position on the number of states and the relation between these states and the larger national minorities?

UCPNm: The election manifesto has outlined 11 autonomous states. Two states are based on geographical regions, whereas nine states are based on ethnicity. These states are: Seti-Mahakali, Bheri-Karnali, Tharuwan, Magarat, Madesh, Tamuwan, Newa, Tamsaling, Kiart, Limbuwan and Kochila as shown in the location map. Under these autonomous states, there will be 24 autonomous centres based on ethnic minorities.  These states will have special rights as to participation in the policy making process. The largest ethnic group within a state will also have special rights for representation as a leader for a limited period.

Nepalkart

HfN: The Terai has seen a massive growth in population relative to the rest of Nepal and there is at the same time controversy concerning the Madesh issue. What is UCPNm’s attitude to the Madesh-question?

UCPNm: The Terai region will be arranged into three major autonomous regions: Thauruwan in the west, Madesh in the middle and Kochila in the east. The Madesh state will have three sub-states: Awadh, Mithila and Bhojpura.  The ethnic minorities will have special rights to participate in the state power. The biggest ethnic group within a state will also have special right to representation as a leader. Madesh issues will be solved when the federal system based on identity has been established. It will be solved by Nepalese people without any assistance from external forces. Madeshi people will have their respect in society and educational and employment rights.

HfN: In the party programme from the 7th Congress, one of the points is the development of cooperatives in many economic areas. How far have you advanced in this programme?

UCPNM: As per the party programme from 7th Congress, a few cooperatives have been started in some economic centres. The plan is to extend into new areas. There will be at least on cooperative established in each electoral centre. There are at the moment 240 electoral centres. Farmers and local industries will be encouraged to participate in the cooperatives.  The state under UCPNm leadership will support the  operation and management of such cooperatives.

HfN: What is your goal for the cooperatives role in the economy in relation to the other forms of economic activity like capitalistic firms, state-controlled firms, etc?

UCPNm: Cooperatives will be the back bone of national development. The plans and policies will be made to run the cooperatives properly. The grassroots people will be encouraged to take part and be most benefitted. The prices of various goods will be regulated by selling products for minimum profit at subsidised prices. There will be a great number of participants through collective investment. These cooperatives will be managed under production brigades by gathering individuals, small scale production enterprises and professionals.

HfN: A central demand during the people’s war was land reform. There has not been any land reform, even though the Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution contained points on this. On the contrary some of the land occupied during the people’s war has been given back to the original owners without the introduction of a land reform. What is your role in this situation? What are the main paroles and actions?

UCPNm: Report from the high level scientific land reform commission will be implemented under the leadership UCPNm. The land above a certain threshold will be taken over by the state and will be distributed among the landless. A revolutionary land reform policy will be implemented on the principle of “land for those who plough it”. Excessive land occupied by landlords will be distributed to the landless people, poor farmers and bondage labours.

Agriculture is the main profession in Nepal. More than 70 percent of the people are engaged in the agriculture. The farming methods are very traditional. Farming will therefore be modernised and professionalised. A new agricultural policy will be formulated with a provision for pension to the farmers. Small scale farmers will be encouraged to organise in cooperatives. Barren land will be distributed to the farmers to cultivate.

HfN: What is your explanation for the increased class differences in Nepal in the period between 2008 and 2013?

UCPNm: The increased class differences are caused mainly because of price increases in goods and land. The cost of daily consumable goods and land has drastically been increased the last ten years.   The high price of commodities has made survival increasingly difficult for the poor people.  There are very few industries that can produce necessary goods for the country. For example, a farmer has to rely on the supply of fertilizer from the foreign countries.

On the other hand, people have very limited job possibilities. As a result, young people have to leave the country seeking for work. This has drained the workforce out of the country. The elderly people cannot cultivate their land which then remains barren. The agricultural production has thus been reduced. This has affected the gross domestic production. These are some of the reasons that the poverty level has increased in the country and the class difference is larger. But this difference is expected to be lowered once a stable government under the leadership of the UCPNm is formed in the future.

HfN: How would you summarize your main political line in this period in the history of Nepal? How do you see the rise of people’s power in Nepal?

UCPNm: The present political situation in Nepal is at a critical juncture.  The transition period has been longer than expected. A new constitution could not be written by the last CA due to larger differences between UCPNm and the parliamentary parties. However, UCPNm has been a major and decisive political force since last CA elections in 2008. Our political line is to lead the country and fulfill people’s desires through peaceful means. Now the party is going ahead rectifying its weaknesses with open politics. Due to lack of political understanding among the political parties, the UCPNm government fell after nine months in power. Later the coalition government could not even bring forward a budget due to opposition. The party will try to establish a good relationship with people as well as with the political parties for a new constitution within a short period.

HfN: Do you see any possibility of party unification with CPNm in the near future?

Smaller parties, party leaders from other parties as well as from CPNm are being united into the UCPNm as an ongoing unification process. A large flow of people have joined the UCPNm just before the new CA elections. This is an encouraging situation for party unification with other parties. However, there is no such party unification possibility with the CPNm. Nevertheless, if the national political scenario changes, there is a possibility of unification with the CPNm in the future. Society cannot be changed without a united proletarian force. All the communist parties must unite and form a united communist party centre. UCPNm is leading the unification process.

HfN: How do you communicate with English reading people on the internet?

UCPNm:  English publications will be published regularly by the international bureau and the publication department under the leadership of the party. However, this has been irregular in the past, but the party will give priority for English publication in the future.

A short visit to Martyrs’ Memorial Residential School in Manpur, Bankatti, Dang.

12. March 2013
Martyrs' Memorial Residential School, Manpur, Dang

Martyrs’ Memorial Residential School, Manpur, Dang

By Johan Petter Andresen, board member of the Health Team for Nepal.

The Health Team for Nepal has been supporting the national democratic revolution in Nepal since 2006. The last years we have been supporting the Martyr Foundation Nepal. An organisation that helps victims of the People’s War and their families. Their central activity is the building and management of five schools spread in different parts of the country. Today the Foundation’s main income is from the government.

Hamid and I arrived at this school on the 4th of February. It is situated between two country towns: Gorahi and Tulsipur. It is neighbouring farms and is located a half a kilometre from the main road.

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Between a rock and a hard place – Nepal’s revolution, an uphill climb.

11. March 2013

By Johan Petter Andresen, board member of Health Team for Nepal, Norway.

Any way you look at it, the prospects for the national democratic revolution in Nepal are not too positive. Since the 12-point agreement in 2005, the peace accord in 2006 and the elections to a Constituent Assembly (CA) in 2008, the country has not stepped forwards, but rather backwards. The CA was dissolved last June 2012 without promulgating a new constitution. The most important military factor behind the success of the revolution, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was reduced to a force of less than 3 000 soldiers entering a non-reformed National Army. The rest of the over 19 000 PLA soldiers, approved by the UN, were dismissed into civilian lives in different ways.

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