5-11 July 2013 #663

“CA elections are no good”

BBC Nepali Service, 3 July

Interview with CPN-M Secretary Netra Bikram Chand about his party’s plan to boycott and disrupt elections.

BBC: Do you have the power to prevent polls from taking place?

Netra Bikram Chand: We aren’t just talking about disrupting elections, we have also said that we will participate in polls if there is a consensual environment.

What kind of consensus will it be if all the progress made to keep this government in place will have to be rolled back?

From the years of conflict to the conclusion of the peace process, our party has played a key role in Nepali politics, how can the country go for polls without our involvement? We will consider running for elections only if there is an all-party agreement on the blueprint of the constitution. We are open to discussing these matters with the government.

But you said you won’t hold talks with the government. Are you rethinking your position?

We said we couldn’t hold discussions without deciding on a subject. The process through which Khil Raj Regmi came to power was unconstitutional, apolitical, and illegal, so those were our positions then. But since Regmi has already made some major decisions, our new resolution is to discuss our agendas, the people’s agendas, and outline of the constitution.

So when you get back to Kathmandu, the first thing you will do is meet Regmi?

No, no. First we will hold discussions with other parties, then with the president. We have heard that Regmi has also called us for talks. After all that, we will decide.

If the talks are unsuccessful, will you post soldiers at every booth and not let polls take place?

No, nothing about soldiers. Our main goal is to hold discussions and take part in elections. But if they want to sideline us and move ahead, the people will not agree with this. We plan to assemble the masses and send them to the booths. Even BP Koirala told journalists he would make the people prosperous by improving land ownership laws and employment opportunities. Our concerns are the same.

Everyone takes Koirala’s name, but one of his main philosophy was holding regular elections. Why are you against this?

We do not oppose elections. But polls that break agreements and invite conflict, like this one, are meaningless. Even the NC took up arms during three elections after the fall of the Panchayat regime. It is not necessarily true that elections are the backbone for democracy, because both Nazis and Fascists came to power through popular vote. Our main point is that this election is against the people’s wishes and will invite more trouble.

And after agreeing on a broad outline of the constitution, you want to hold parliament elections?

Yes, yes. Everyone is sick and tired of this intangible constitution and if you look at India, China, and other countries, their constitution was not written by a CA.

You want to write a constitution based on all-party discussions, pass this document, and then contest parliamentary elections?

Yes. If everyone agrees and is serious about our politics and struggles of the last 60 years, I don’t see why we can’t come up with a constitution based on our discussions. There is a huge difference in understanding among NC, UML leaders, and constitutional experts. How can we hold elections under such circumstances?

So you want to assemble the parties inside a room and then call this congregation’s decisions the people’s wishes? How is this democracy?

No, I never said that. We have gone to the people so many times now, they have stopped believing in what we say. So what are we going to tell them this time?

To listen to the interview in Nepali click here

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