THT 10 YEARS AGO: PM commits to holding CA polls in writing

Kathmandu, August 24, 2007

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today signed a paper expressing his commitment to hold the elections to the Constituent Assembly, but the Maoists’ top leaders Prachanda and Dr Baburam Bhattarai did not.

Koirala signed the 10-point commitment paper presented by the Human Rights and Peace Society (HURPES), but the Maoists leaders did not sign, saying that they “would decide about it soon.”

Koirala signed on the paper immediately after the rights activists produced the paper before him at his official residence in Baluwatar, but Prachanda and Dr Bhattarai did not sign when a team of human rights activists met them at their residences this morning. “Prachanda and Bhattarai told us that they would decide on the matter soon and would inform us,” President of HURPES Purusottam Dahal told this daily after the separate meetings with the PM and the Maoist leaders.

After meeting the Maoist leaders at Mehpi, human rights activists Krishan Pahadi, Dahal, Homkanta Chaulagain and some others had gone to meet the PM. According to Dahal, Koirala told them that the elections to the Constituent Assembly would be held in the stipulated time; otherwise, an atmosphere of “mistrust” would be created in the country.

“The PM expressed in writing his commitment to hold the elections on November 22,” he added. “However, the Maoists leaders also told us that they are committed to hold the CA elections,” Dahal added.

Maoists in favour of postponing election, not aborting it

Kathmandu, August 24, 2007

Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Prachanda said today that the constituent assembly elections should be held for a federal democratic republic, and if not the elections should be postponed for April-May 2008.

Talking at the end of an “extended interaction” with representatives of the civil society including janajati groups and journalists, Prachanda said: “It would be better to postpone the November elections than to hold an election in a Panchayati style.” He, however, requested the civil society and the Nepali people not even to “imagine” that the party which “carried the constituent assembly agenda in its womb during the ten-year long People’s Movement would abort the embryo.” He claimed that the party was committed to holding the CA elections through a round-table conference.

“There is an effort to kill the constituent assembly, and if that happens it will be a big mistake,” Prachanda said. Prachanda also said that if the Maoists don’t get an outlet, they would be forced to say that “Revolution is everything and Constituent Assembly is nothing.”