KATHMANDU, September 12: With the president calling an all-party meeting for Friday, leaders of the agitating CPN-Maoist plan to reinforce their demand for replacing the present government with a coalition of political parties and discussing the major provisions of the new constitution at an all-party roundtable.
The CPN-Maoist led 33-party alliance has already submitted a memorandum to President Ram Baran Yadav, requesting him to take the initiative to hold a roundtable for finding a solution to the current political crisis.
"We are scheduled to meet tomorrow [Friday] morning to further concretize our views for presentation at the all-party meeting. But it is obvious our focus is on forming a government of political parties and reaching an understanding on the major contents of the new constitution," CPN-Maoist Secretary Netra Bikram Chand told Republica.
He also said that they would emphasize reaching an agreement during the roundtable with regard to accomplishing the remaining tasks of the peace process.
Chand, however, was quick to add that he wasn´t optimistic about getting their demands fulfilled. "I´m not optimistic because the four major political parties and the government aren´t serious toward our demands while we aren´t going to make any compromises without seeing any changes in the status quo," he expalained. He said the president has called the meeting just to learn the views of the political parties and not to take any decision.
Another CPN-Maoist secretary, Dev Gurung, echoed Chand. According to Gurung, their focus would be on reaching an understanding on the contents of the new constitution. He said up to 13 of the 18 demands of the alliance are related to constitution drafting.
Gurung claimed that under the status quo his party would not accept the election that the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are pressing his party to participate in come November 19.
"We are putting in efforts on how to change this status quo. So, there is no chance of our participating in the scheduled November 19 CA poll without any changes," added Gurung arguing that the scheduled poll was announced by the four parties whereas his party is against the four-party syndicate.
Gurung also said his party would not give any written commitment to the four parties, arguing that this election date was scheduled by the four parties and the current government was also unacceptable. "We are demanding a government of political parties in accordance with a political consensus whereas the current government is just a technocratic government," added Gurung.
"The election should be held in accordance with a national consensus," said Gurung, arguing further that the four parties were only trying to impose their decision on the country and also weaken the interim constitution.
The CPN-Maoist led alliance has already made public its program of agitations against the current political and electoral process, while keeping open the door for talks.
But the government and the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) have not responded, arguing that they would be ready for talks only after assurances from the Baidya-led Maoists about joining the elections. The Maoist leaders have been claiming that the way to political consensus will open automatically if the four parties agree to discuss all issues at a roundtable. According to Maoist leaders, a roundtable will do two things: 1] find a way out of the political crisis resulting from the ´undemocratic and unconstitutional´ situation, 2] the basis will be readied for drafting the constitution through discussions on its contents.
The Maoist leaders have also been saying that CA elections or anything else would be meaningless without assurances about constitution-making.
Speaking about Friday´s all party meeting, Nepali Congress spokesperson Dilendra Prasad Badu said his party expects the CPN-Maoist led alliance to come on board the election process. "This is why we have been continuing our talks with them. It will be good if the Maoist-led alliance demands a revison in the 25-point ordinance and 11-point political deal to address their demands. That will be a practicable idea for ensuring CA polls on November 19," said Badu. He also said that his party expects President Yadav to play a faciliatating role to help bring the Baidya Maoists into the election process.
"The demand for dissolving the government and deferring elections won´t solve the current political crisis," added Badu.
CPN-UML Secretary Shankar Pokharel said that leaders from the pro-election parties should make utmost efforts to include the agitating CPN-Maoist. He said the poll date can be rescheduled for some days or for a week if the dissident party is ready to participate in the poll. "Similarly, some of their demands such as holding an all-party roundtable and owning the decisions taken by the past CA can be considered," said Pokharel.