Monarchy main hurdle, say Gautam, Gurung

Kathmandu, October 27:

Standing committee member of the CPN-UML, Bamdev Gautam, today said that lasting peace, inclusive democracy and the country’s reconstruction is impossible without solving the political problems.

“The mandate of the people’s movement was to abolish the feudal institution of monarchy and establish a democratic republic. Without resolving this political problem there will be no lasting peace and democracy will not be sustainable in the country,” Gautam said. He was speaking at an inaugural function of the 13th annual meeting of the Rural Reconstruction of Nepal, a non-government organisation working in the field of rural development. Gautam said lasting peace and reconstruction of the country would not be possible unless the seven-party alliance and the Maoists settle the issue of monarchy, which, he said, was the main hurdle in the peace talks.

The House of Representatives should have announced an interim constitution and an interim government and set the date for elections to a constituent assembly on April 28 when it came up with its declaration, he said.

He also said that the 12-point understanding reached between the alliance and the Maoists on November 22, 2005 aimed at finding a lasting solution to the decade-old conflict and monarchy through constituent assembly elections. Gautam accused the Maoists of giving unnecessary importance to NC president and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who was in favour of giving a “space” to monarchy. The demand that the Maoists lay down their arms before the assembly polls is a conspiracy for not holding the elections, he said. Sharing Gautam’s views, Dev Gurung, a member of the Maoist talks team, said monarchy should go. Federalism is the only solution to transform the unitary and feudal political system into an inclusive democratic polity, Gurung said.

He said the peace process was deadlocked due to conspiracies hatched by the palace and “external pressures.” He, however, hoped that the next round of peace talks would succeed as leaders of the eight parties had hammered out their differences on major issues.

Vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission, Dr Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, said the NPC was working out a three-year package on reconstruction, rehabilitation and inclusive democracy in consultation with political parties.

Women activists Sapana Pradhan Malla and Durga Sob lamented that no space was given to women in the peace process. Sob said Dalits were seeking their partnership in the affairs of the state, not mere inclusion. NC-D leader Narayan Khadka said the peace process should move ahead according to the 12 and eight-point understandings.