Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What impact will a Baidya-led poll boycott have?

KATHMANDU, September 24: The leaders of the CPN-Maoist led 33-party alliance have challenged the government to hold the Constituent Assembly election while bypassing them and warned that they are ready to obstruct the November 19 poll.

At a mass meeting of the alliance held on Monday in the capital, CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya claimed that they would burn the constitution if it is drafted, arguing that the four major parties alone could not draft a constitution and such a constitution would not address the rights of the common people.
There is very little possibility of the alliance participating in the scheduled election under the status quo. That means it will do a boycott. What would be the impact of a boycott? Political analysts watching Nepal´s political process closely also have a question about the legitimacy of the CA election and its outcome. Will the CPN-Maoist led alliance boycott the poll with force or only passively? This is one side of the coin.

The other side is, would a CA election bypassing the Maoist-led alliance have legitimacy? The main reason is that the only way to get a measure of the political forces now is to look at their strength in the last CA.

In the last CA, the CPN-Maoist alone had 90 plus lawmakers, making it the third largest. Now, it also has in its camp other lawmakers from the fringe parties of the last CA. Bypassing them would naturally raise questions about legitimacy. That is because this is not a general election but a CA poll. Another genuine issue is that the new constitution should address the causes behind the armed conflict whose legacy the CPN-Maoist is claiming for itself.

Power of allianceThe alliance comprises those forces that are against the 25-point ordinance for removing constitutional difficulties and the 11-point deal among the major political parties. Following the 25-point and 11-point deals, the current political process has come into its own, including the formation of the Khila Raj Regmi-led poll government.
Included in the alliance are the radical left CPN-Maoist, the radical ethnic Federal Limbuwan State Council led by Kumar Lingden, royalists forces which see themselves as patriotic forces and some ethnic-based parties.

"In the alliance are parties from every part of the country while the so-called patriotic forces are also everywhere but are not organized," Mani Thapa told Republica, adding that the alliance has a hold across the country.

"Whether our alliance participates in the election or boycotts it, we have the capacity to exercise influence. We have the radical left, ethnic regional forces and also the patriotic forces. Such a composition is in itself powerful," added Thapa.

At the mass meeting of the alliance of Monday, 44 out of the 47 parties participated. Among those participating, nine parties have registered at the election commission. Among these nine parties, five including Rastriya Ekata Manch, Samata Party and Samabesi Party participated in the mass meeting and four parties including the Rishi Kattel-led Communist Party of Nepal did not do so.

The CPN(Maoist) led by Matrika Yadav, an influential party whose sway is basically in Madhes, has already left the alliance.
It is mainly the Maoists, the Sanghiya Limbuwan Rajya Parisad and CPN(Unified) that figure large in the alliance.

CPN-Maoist holds all the districts as it has on its side the cream of the insurgency-era cadres including former people´s liberation army fighters. These cadres and former PLA are not involved in corruption. The next power in the alliance is Sanghiya Limbuwan Rajya Parisad, which has its hold in the eastern hills. And, it has been obstructing matters for long. Another force is the CPN (Unified) led by Ram Singh Shreesha and Pari Thapa.

Its hold is mainly in Pyuthan, Baglung and Kailali. The Social Democratic Party led by Bam Kumari Budha Magar, Pasang Sherpa and Chaitanya Subba has its impact among the eastern hills ethnic people, and the Ambika Thaiba-led CPN (Marxist) holds sway in Sindhuli and Rupandehi. Prakash Adhikari-led CPN-Samyukta has the Madhes areas.

Among the rest of the parties in the alliance, some have national figures as leaders.

If the registered nine parties participate in the election, there is slim of their winning even the proportional seats. According to leaders of the alliance, only the Rishi Kattel-led CPN has some impact. Former lawmaker Tilak Bahadur Thapa Magar is with the party

"Whether those parties participate in election or boycott it, it would not effect the alliance," CPN (Unified) leader Ram Singh Shreesha told Republica. According to him, Rishi Kattel has already instructed them to participate in the election. Rest of those registered in the election commission are in a wait and see mood.

"They are waiting for a favorable political environment: would there be any benefit in the alliance or not," Prakash Adhikari, general secretary of CPN (Samyukta), told Republica.

It would not be correct to underestimate the power of the alliance. Till now, the alliance has not disclosed the nature of its proposed boycott. It has just said that the alliance would boycott ´effectively´. So, the effect of the boycott would depend on the alliance´s level of readiness to face risk.
from Republica

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