Excerpts of an interview with Subash Nemwang, central committee member of the CPN (UML) and constitutional expert.
The political parties seem reluctant to involve themselves in the peace process.
It must not be forgotten that when the government was set against a peaceful solution, we launched an all-party campaign and pressurised the government to be more amenable. In the same vein, we also called upon the Maoists to give up violence and join mainstream politics. Now, we are pressurising both sides to make the talks transparent so nobody can back out of negotiations in an irresponsible way.
Why are the parties against the constituent assembly?
The recent statements and activities from the Maoists suggest they are in favour of formulating a constitution that includes the representation of the king. If that is the case they should make clear what they want to achieve outside what amending the present constitution can't do. This would be the safest way to end the present crisis. We have no wish to see the country pass through another state of indecision and confusion like that of 1950-59 in the name of the constituent assembly.
Can the king scrap the present constitution?
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1990 recognises people as the source of the country's sovereignty. People can exercise their sovereign right through this constitution. Nobody can annul a constitution that was formulated by the popular will. What will those people who say the 1990 constitution can be scrapped do when a similar situation arises in the future?
The government argues that the root of the bad governance is the present constitution.
Certainly there have been weaknesses in governance during the last 12 years and there is a need to move forward by correcting those mistakes. We have a system and mechanism within this constitution to correct such aberrations. We already have a mechanism to punish the corrupt and book anybody indulging in irregular activities, even if it is the prime minister. Those who point at the so-called bad governance of the past should ask themselves whether the Panchayat system had mechanisms other than oppression.