Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"Let’s have a roundtable"


Mulyankan: Why did you run away from elections?
Baburam Bhattarai:
We didn't run away, that is illogical and a lie. If the proper preparations aren't made, a constituent assembly can be a tool for reactionaries and this could abort the revolution. That is why we wanted to end the monarchy before elections. Without taking into account Nepal's multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic diversity a constituent assembly can't be inclusive. That is why we want a full-proportional system.

Without these two things we can't fulfil the aims of our people's war.

So, who is to blame?
Instead of blaming anyone, it may be better to analyse the stance of the parties towards elections. We agreed in the past about elections in June. But as time went by we realized we couldn't look at elections as something separate from the peace process. Their biggest mistake was to look at the constituent assembly election as a parliamentary election.

By delaying elections isn't there a danger to the peace process?
As long as a military loyal to the monarchy is around there will be a danger of regression. To prolong the transition period while the king is still around can be disastrous. That is why we need to throw out the monarchy and shorten the transition.

Won't it be dangerous if the alliance breaks up?
It can be very dangerous for the country if the parties keep confronting each other. That is why we called for a special session of parliament to keep the unity of the six parties and the Maoists. Our unity must be based on the minimum demand of a republic and full-proportional elections. Only that will stop reactionaries and regression.

What are the ways to do this?
Interim parliament agreeing to our two demands. That is the last chance to bring political stability through a political agreement in parliament. We have been talking to civil society and the ethnic groups about this and they all agree that the best way to resolve the issue would be through a roundtable conference. That way madhesi, janajati, dalits can also be a part of the struggle and we can take the country forward through unity and inclusion.

This roundtable conference coulnd't materialize in the past. What are the chances of it happening?
If we want a real political resolution and progress there is no alternative to all the stakeholders sitting in one place to reach an agreement. It shouldn't be about anyone losing or winning.

Is there a chance for you to compromise on your demands?
At first there was pressure on us to agree on June elections. That is why we agreed to the mixed-election proposal. But later, it was clear that was a mistake-we needed full-proportional. This is not just a demand, it is a realistic need.

So, how do we get to a solution?
By agreeing to a roundtable conference, let's agree and decide on a solution. This would be the most democratic thing to do.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)