21 ca and human security

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  • 1. HUMAN SECURITY ISSUE: DURING CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY (CA) ELECTION IN NEPAL A GENERAL SITUATION FORCASTING REPORT Predicted by: Raj K Pandey, MBS, MA (Rural Development) Jawalakhel, Lalitpur GPO BOX: 19862 Kahtmandu, Nepal Mobile: 977-01-98510 86884 rajkpandey2000@yahoo.com, rajkpandey2000@hotmail.com, rajkpandey2000@gmail.com
  • 2. 2008 General Context  Constitution is the main law of the country. The country's state management runs according to this law. Constituent Assembly (CA) is an assembly of the different representatives chosen by the people for the formation of a new constitution, as desired by people. CA poll is needed in Nepal to restructure the nation according to aspirations of the People's Movement–II, reach a decision on the future of the monarchy, ensure democratic rule of law, assure proportional representation in all the bodies of the state, institutionalize the people's sovereignty and create an atmosphere for all the citizens to exercise the equal rights.  The first meeting of the CA will be held within 21 days from the day that the Election Commission (EC) declares the result of the CA poll. The meeting of the CA will be held as scheduled by the Head of the Assembly. Similarly, at least ¼ of the members have to call for a meeting, for it to materialize.  One member one constituency principle is followed in the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) System. There could be any number of candidates in any elections, conducted for any positions. But, a voter is allowed to cast vote in favor of only one candidate. The one who leads with maximum number of votes, is declared winner. A proportional election, on the other hand, is the one where voting takes place for the political parties, considering the entire nation as a single election constituency. The winning candidate is determined on the basis of the maximum number of votes received by the parties. For this system, the political parties must submit a closed list of their candidates to the EC.  The listed candidates are declared winner, according to the number of votes earned by the political parties in the election. Under the Proportionate Electoral Procedure, any parties that desire to contest the election must prepare a closed list of its candidates representing the mother party in the election. The list must contain names of candidates comprising women, Dalits, oppressed, indigenous, backward regions, Madhesi, etc. and the closed list is not subject to changes.  Inclusiveness in CA poll denotes the process of including the classes or regions that are backward due to economic, political, geographical, gender, social or other causes and participation of those who have been left out of the nation's mainstream or those who have been deprived of a role.  The CA will be elected for a period of two years in Nepal. A provision has been made to add a period of 6 months to the assembly in case the constitution drafting is incomplete due to declaration of emergency in the nation.  The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the CA are elected from among assembly members. The candidates for the post of Chairman and Vice-Chairman should represent different political parties. During the period of CA, the assembly will assume responsibilities of both the Constituent Assembly and the legislative- parliament. The provision to form a separate committee to conduct the functions in the regular statue of the legislative parliament exists. When doing the work
  • 3. under the legislative parliament, the Chairman of the CA and the Vice-Chairman will function as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the parliament, respectively. CA Procedures  If 2/3 majority of the CA members decide that a certain issue is an issue of national contention, which calls for the referendum to make the decision, it is possible to hold referendum to settle such an issue.  In the election to CA, provision has been made for two different kinds of ballot papers. Light blue ballot papers will be used for the First Past the Post System and pale red ones will be used for proportional electoral system. The votes are counted in District Headquarters. Once the ballot boxes have been collected from all the polling stations, the Election Officer must publish a notice on the location, date and time for the counting of votes.  As far as possible, counting for both FPTP and proportional election votes must begin at the same location and time. If it is not possible to begin at the same time, the FPTP counting will begin first. After the job has been completed, the phase for the counting of votes under the proportional election system will begin.  The Election Officer has to forward the total count of votes received by every political party, to the EC. The EC prepares a list of the overall count results received from different administrative headquarters. Depending on the number of votes won by different political parties, the candidates recommended by the parties central committees in the closed list are declared elected by the EC.  The EC will be responsible to look into the matter to ensure that the nomination from the closed list has correct proportional representation. For this purpose, Code of Conduct is a legal limitation to be strictly followed by all the political parties and candidates, individuals related to them, government and media, government organizations and corporations, employees, government employees involved in elections and the government side.  Code of Conduct is also essential to conduct polls in a healthy environment, to prevent abuse of GoN means and resources, and to conduct the elections in a free, transparent and reliable way ensuring that it is not extravagant.  The CA court will be set up by the GoN in consultation with the Supreme Court to look into cases related to elections. Human Security Issue  The EC has recently published its tentative schedule for the forthcoming CA poll which was previously annexed in this report. According to the EC timeline, CA will be held on 10th of April. And, all the political parties are likely to aggravate their ongoing political activities mainly two weeks before the scheduled date in a more intensive manner. During this period, all proposed leaders likely to widely visit their respective rural constituent areas and attempt to influence the general folks in their favor and ideologies by visiting door-to-door campaign. At the same
  • 4. time, existing mainstream parties and newly emerged regional forces, which have been already registered with the EC as a political party for the CA, are likely to conduct their intensive political activities throughout the countryside.  Albeit, the Seven Party Alliances (SPA) central level leaders have mutually agreed not to coincide their political rallies and mass meet with each other in connection with unity but the grassroots based cadres may compete to dim the rivals which may turn into violent. There is, consequently, possibility of inter-party clashes mainly to prove their people-based power and support of the new voters. Politics and power sharing task is exactly like a gambling, where nobody wins until somebody losses, and in reality, nobody is voluntarily ready to loose their holding power. These ego and protection of space for the power and authority is the root cause of fight among the politicians. Such tog of war is likely to happen even in the CA poll as existing elites and beneficiary groups are more worried with the forthcoming change. They are not lamented due to lack of authority and power but possibility of loosing them after a probable transformation process.   On the other hand, different political ideologies might surface in the rural villages with various vested interest groups that may attempt to manipulate the volatile situation for their own cause. On top of this, the democratic forces, ethnic based groups, hard core and soft core leftist and communist, different social strata-- political, economical, religious, cultural, traditional elites and excluded-- may also work aggressively to prove their existence during that political transition phase.   During this time, especially from 01-10 of April, there is likely to happen some disturbances in some parts of the country, mainly eastern Terai belt, particularly among the mainstream political parties vs upcoming regional forces; traditional beneficiary elites, who are certainly resistance toward the change vs excluded social groups; extreme orthodox rightists and fundamentalists – Hindu and Royalist, vs democratic and leftist alliances representing the socialist and leftist forces comprising by Nepali Congress including CPN/UML, Maosit, etc.   The GoN, although, has attempted its level best to maintain the law and order situation with reference to the CA and Security Forces are also time and again instructed for tightened security. But, there is possibility of some lapses even in the especial security arrangement since a strong motive of a person is stronger than the deployed forces. During CA poll the Indo-Nepal opened border, which is approximately 1600 KM, will be temporarily shut down but some of the rootless agitating groups might prior invite the professional criminals from the neighboring states to disturb the CA poll and revenge the old enemies in muddy water.   At same time, the unsatisfied existing minor criminal groups, which is nearly two dozen in number, likely to intensify their terror activities mainly in plain land, where there is possibility of more abductions, killings of local leaders, explosions and looting since all the state machineries and organs mainly the security forces will be focused for the national agenda and wrongly motivated groups may adopt the hit and run strategy, which is extremely difficult to prevent due to the geo- politics of the country and limited resources.   There is also likely to surface some professional anti-social criminal underground gangsters and opportunity seekers for their vested cause. Some of the political
  • 5. parties likely to mobilize such power for their interest since money, muscles and men are the lubricants for an election in the developing backward third world countries, where democratic culture, values and norms are not matured so far. The then rebellion force-CPN/Maoist, first time participating in such competitive election, time and again, has expressed its wildest dream and ambition to form the forthcoming government; totally eliminating the deep rooted influence of the royal regime, and drastically socio-economic transformation in the country. For this, the Maoist Supreme has been visualized as the first President which reflects that they will use any hooks and crooks strategy to conquer the poll in their favor. Moreover, they have also announced that they will mobilize 200 YCL cadres for each poll center. It is, therefore, predicted that they will attempt to capture some of the poll booths which may tense the situation. And, its cadres may try to win the election by the means of bullets rather than ballots since they are trained in the same camps and have never practiced the democratic norms. On the other hand, the extreme rightists likely to create disturbances and tensions in their influential zones with the moral support from the royalist, orthodox Hindu, traditional elites and landlords class of people, who will permanently loose their inherent power and authority once socio-economic transformation process begins in the country. Moreover, some of the minor ethnicity based groups, who will never win the election, even though wish to prove their existence in their dense populated region may also use the CA as a bargaining card so that will be active prior to result announcement. The EC has scheduled vote counting and result processing period between 13-26 April which will be observed in the respective administrative headquarters. And, a huge mass gathering of different political ideologies and rival groups will be taken place for a couple of days until winner is declared in the district headquarters which may likely to disrupt the local level circumstance throughout the countryside. But, this disruption caused by the high number of mob in the district headquarters will continue only for a couple of days separately in each respective district headquarters in between 13-26 April. It is, therefore, likely risky period to visit the district headquarters and rural areas in this period. Summing up and Recommendations The forthcoming CA poll is not like a routine election rather it is a tough means for the national restructuring and socio-economic transformation process. The forthcoming change process will totally destroy the traditional structures and rebuild the nation through the new vision, mission, plans, policies and programs. It is, therefore, not an so easy process and some disturbances, killings, explosions, booth capturing and inter- party political clashes will likely to taken place in some parts of Nepal. Hence, the writer would like to recommend all particularly the JICA Personnel: 1. Postpone field trip and JICA Mission during 01-10 April and 13-26 April; 2. Do not use public transport, places, service centers in this period; 3. Avoid crowded areas, unorganized mob, political rallies and mass meet; 4. Do no directly participate in any political activities i.e. campaign and awareness; 5. Build your social image as a neutral and balanced Developmental Practitioner; 6. Do not argue on the sensitive issues - politics, religion, sex, cast and creeds; 7. Do not touch suspicious unidentified stuffs found around your locality;
  • 6. 8. Keep low profile and ignore any debates and discourse with the strangers; 9. Listen leaders and political cadres carefully but do not make arguments; 10. Keep eyes and ears opened and pay more attention for your personal security; 11. Educate your children and family members about likely events during CA, and 12. Wait for the peace, prosperous and socio-economic stability in the near future.