THT 10 YEARS AGO: Govt, Janajatis strike deal

Lalitpur, August 7, 2007

The government and the Janajati organisations today struck a 20-point agreement, thus ending the 10 rounds of talks held so far between the two sides. The Janajatis have now decided to concentrate on the Constituent Assembly elections. At the end of today’s ninehour-long talks at Godavari, the government agreed that the candidates for the First-Past-The-Post election system would also be selected on a proportional basis, while it was agreed that all the political parties would ensure the representation of all the 59 recognised ethnic groups in the elections. The government also agreed to ensure representation, through legal or constitutional means, of all the recognised ethnic groups that are not accommodated in the two election systems. It was also agreed today that the government would immediately form an inclusive state restructuring commission that will suggest the constituent assembly on the restructuring of the state on the basis of ethnicity, language, region, economic viability and cultural specialty. The government further agreed to set up an Indigenous Nationalities Commission. The constituent assembly would make a provision that will recognise local languages to be used in official work, the agreement paper says. The government also agreed to disseminate election-related and all other information of public importance in mother tongues of all ethnic groups.

Maoists decide not to quit government

Kathmandu, August 7, 2007

The expanded meeting of the CPN-Maoist today decided not to quit the government. It also chalked up a strategy aimed at constituent assembly elections slated for November. The meeting’s penultimate day today ended after endorsing a political strategy presented by party chief Prachanda. The hallmark of the meeting, which got underway last Friday in the capital, was that the party has kept alive its stance that there is a need to hold demonstrations for the declaration of a republican setup well before the elections and for a proportional representation system. The central idea of the political paper presented by Prachanda in the meeting was summarised by Barsaman Pun, alias Ananta, at the end of today’s meeting. Ananta said that the party would not quit the government as a matter of pressure tactics. “We will try to bring about a consensus on the electoral system by talking with the seven political parties. However, if they don’t agree on it, we will go for an agitation,” he said. Ananta also indicated at a possible unrest if the elections were not held on time. Although Ananta said that the party still stands for elections based on the proportional representation system, he was noncommittal when reporters asked him what the party would do if the elections were not a fully proportional affair.