Kamal Dev Bhattarai


Although the United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN)-Maoists has incorporated various provisions of parliamentary democracy in its constitution, its stand on pluralism is not sufficiently forthright. Other political parties of Nepal have expressed their concern on this matter.


With clear commitment to press freedom, multiparty democracy, human rights, independent judiciary and periodic elections, the main opposition UCPN (Maoist) on Saturday unveiled its draft of the constitution on the occasion of second Republic Day. The constitution has 19 parts and 274 articles.


Despite those commitments, the document doesn’t clearly mention pluralism. Other parties are pressing the Maoists to make commitment to pluralism. Addressing a function organized at Khula Manch in the Capital to declare the constitution, Maoist Vice Chairman Babu Ram Bhattarai said the drafted constitution is a document of compromise between the capitalist and proletariat class that exist in the society.


Bhattarai claimed his party’s draft constitution has given space to all classes of society such as proletariat, bourgeois, capitalist and the middle class except feudal and agents of regressive and foreign forces. TheMaoists have proposed 12 federal states. Earlier, they proposed 14 federal states. They say that there could be sub-federal states also. The preamble of the constitution says that it was the basis of establishing the socialismenvisaged by the party.


“The unveiled constitution does not aim to establish one-party or communist regime but multiparty democracy in the country,” said Bhattarai. The Maoist statute draft states commitment to democracy, civil rights, periodic elections, economic rights and rule of law. Bhattarai clarified that the party does not have any intention of creating a parallel constitution or government in the country through this draft. “The Constituent Assembly will promulgate the new constitution but we have publicized our party’s view about the constitution and this is the preliminary draft of that constitution for public debate.”


Parties like Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have been saying for a long time that the Maoists are trying to block the other parties by dubbing them feudalsand agents of foreign forces. The Maoists say there will be an executive President at the centre elected directly by the people and his tenure will be five years. NC and UML are opposing the Maoist proposal stating that the  executive president may turn totalitarian. NC has proposed an executive prime minister elected from the parliament while UML wants an executive Prime Minister elected directly by the people.


The Maoists have proposed new constitutional commissions such as Madhesi, women, worker, farmer and Muslim. The draft of the constitution includes a separate article on protection of national and international interests. According to Bhattarai, the draft is unique in the sense that no constitution in the world has a separate part relating to international relations.


Bhattarai said his party has taken the agreement among the three parties on Friday night as a deal through the checkbook.  “We will soon go to the bank with that check. If the check bounces, we know what to do,” said Bhattarai.


The Maoist leader said that they made agreement with the ruling parties considering the national and international power balance. “The three- point agreement among the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML on Friday night was a win-win situation, realizing that there is still the possibility of making constitution through the CA,” said Bhattarai.


Kathmandu, May 29, 2010

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