Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nepal on the brink

Nepal is a tinderbox once again. The so called Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoists (CPNM) has run into a bitter dispute over two pivotal issues. There is no resolution in sight. At issue are the monarchy and the make-up of the elected Constituent Assembly (CA). The elections were to be held in April of this year but they have been postponed and postponed again. The Maoists want the monarchy abolished and Nepal declared a republic by the current, unelected, parliament. They also want the membership of the new elected Constituent Assembly to include all the so called marginalized ethnic groups in direct proportion to their population in Nepal. The Nepali Congress (NC), the primary component of the SPA is vehemently opposed to these motions and they have accused the Maoists of using these motions to delay the elections which they feel will diminish the wedge of power now wielded by the Maoists in the CPA. The Maoists in turn have declared that these motions are fundamental pillars of what they stand for and no compromise is possible. If this situation blows up just about anything is possible from failed state to military coup and perhaps even to an invasion by India in the name of maintaining peace and order. As a taste of things to come consider that the Young Communist League (YCL), an unofficial arm of the Maoists, are running amuck and terrorizing the people with abductions and extortions at will with no one able or willing to check their bravado. Simultaneously, the so called marginalized groups who constitute almost half of the population and therefore expect by virtue of the Maoist position to constitute almost half of the elected CA, are taking to the streets. It is high noon in Nepal.

Cha-am Jamal

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