Ishwar Pokhrel, general secretary of major party of the ruling collation in Nepal, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). Nepal is going through a very important phase now; they are planning to draft a new constitution bill. The opposition in Nepal is not ready for the new constitution draft which is made and has various disagreements with it. They already missed their deadline they declared in January 2014 because of the protest and violence in the constitution assembly by Maoist party (UCPN). The violence in the assembly is not good for democracy for any country.
We do expect that constitution must be drafted with the mutual consensus among all the parties. Here we have Ishwar Pokhrel to answer some questions about this. The detailed interview of Ishwar Pokhrel with Aditya Sharma.
Aditya Sharma – Do you think that drafting the new constitution and go for voting on it in the CA is a right decision when your main opposition is not ready for it and have several disagreements with it? Don’t you think that you should try to make consensus among all the parties?
Ishwar Pokhrel – There can never be provision of ruling parties and opposition parties in the context of Constituent Assembly. They are only the provisions of regular parliament. However, constitution is a document of mutual consensus through which every citizen can feel ownership of the constitution. Therefore, it would be the most appropriate if we could create the consensus atmosphere, but If it is not possible, in fact the verdicts should be taken as per the set rules of game or there is no way without adhering democratic procedures.
Aditya – Do you think that this is a pre-planned attack to disrupt the proceedings of the constitution assembly?
Ishwar Pokhrel – Actually, Prachanda led UCPN Maoist talks on promulgating constitution through CA in a colorful way; but implicitly they are committed to dissolve it. People’s mandate from the last CA election 2013 is in comfort to democratic forces and unfavorable to Maoist. So, they cannot promulgate constitution as per their tone. Under such paradoxical circumstances, they have been impeding constitution making process. The latest version of their conspiracy theory was their undemocratic and humiliating activity in January 20 CA meeting.
Aditya – After that violence in the assembly, UCPN chairmen Pushpa Kamal Dahal shown his regrets and assured that such incident will not repeat again. He said they will protest on it but now peacefully, but still lots of what you want to say on that?
Ishwar Pokhrel – The Maoists are actually known as the synonymous for extortion, killing and physical violence. They seem not committed democratic forces who believe on trust and tolerance. Furthermore, they rather have been involving in anarchy and non-democratic practices. In fact, they now do have only two options either they need to be transformed as democratic force or be ready to be abolished.
Aditya – The opposition does not want you to post the draft without resolving the differences; they are also ready to do negotiation on that. Do you agree to do the negotiations on that or you are still going with the current draft?
Ishwar Pokhrel – There is no alternative than resolving the differences. But, if we won`t able to come to a common understanding, the only way to move forward is to settle differences through democratic and constitutional procedures. We, now and always, pay our utmost efforts for resolving the differences through negotiations. Either they need to agree on the content of constitution as per the ideals of democracy; or should accept the established democratic procedure i.e. majoritarian decision-making process.
Aditya Sharma – Opposition considers that PM Sushil Koirala playing the role of a villain in the current situation and taking advantage of the flexibility provided by the Maoist Party. Do you think that if you should be drafted this bill after having a proper discussion you can prevent that such situation? Do you agree that you tried to do it in hurry to match the deadline?
Ishwar Pokhrel – There has been no confusion that CPN (UML) and NC have been working out sincerely with their highest possible flexibilities. We however cannot compromise on national Sovereignty, Integrity, age-long social harmony and progressive transformation of people’s life. The deadline was not only the moral and political bottom line, but also legal as well; since special resolution has been endorsed by overwhelming majority of the first meeting of CA on January 22, 2014 to promulgate constitution in a year.