Nepal news June 6 2012 – chaotic political situation

August 24, 2012 UPDATE

I was away all summer after writing this. I get my news from Republica.  I resumed scanning it this week, and there is the usual level of chaos. the Nepali Congress wants the PM to resign; the CPN Moaists are threeatening violence. The one thing they all agree upon is that nothing can be done.

Nepal

This is a bit of a departure from the typical entry about nursing employment issues. But I also have a connection to the country of Nepal, which has some problems. They seem to be having more-than-the-usual chaos in their political system.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/opinion/nepal-on-the-brink-of-collapse.html

In brief, since the 2007 peace accords were signed Nepal elected a sort of parliament (known as the Constituent Assembly)  for the purpose of writing  a democratic constitution. The deadline was May 31st….. of 2008.

May 31st is an annual event

Each year since then, the end of May (dryest time of year, hot and dusty and everyone gets irritated waiting for monsoon, even if they don’t care about politics) has been tense due to expiration of the “deadline.” Miraculously, the Constituent Assembly managed to extend their existence by a year each time, usually at least the last minute, and averting a crisis.

What does the CA do, anyway?

The CA is notorious for not actually doing anything except to enrich themselves. Factional bickering has been the order of the day. This year, the Nepal Supreme Court ruled that a different path could be taken, and new elections could be held.

something actually happened

The ruling by the court resulted in the Prime Minister dissolving the C.A. altogether, and then also seems to have resulted in the assassination of the Chief Justice, last week in a drive-by shooting. My immediate thought was to wonder which political party was responsible for this, or even whether it was somebody from the bureaucracy (which seems to be self-perpetuating and independent of everything). It could have been anybody.

Military Coup?

I tend not to think it was the Army. The Nepal Army has been very good at staying away from this political quagmire. Two years ago  the Maoists tried to force a confrontation, bussing in 100,000 cadre to descend on Kathmandu and occupy the streets. At that time the Army showed remarkable restraint in not escalating the situation. The people of Kathmandu waited out the Maoists and their uprising was a failure.

Up until now, I think the main players have not attempted to assassinate each other – they have left the violence to be carried out by the members of their gang who were lower on the party hierarchy. this is not a good sign.

Thinking out of the box

The Prime Minister who dissolved the Constituent Assembly is the target of calls to resign, and has resisted. I would expect that he is being heavily guarded. I have to admit, he took a courageous step, thinking “out of the box” to change the dialog. The optimist in me wonders if it will actually change anything. if it does, then we will all applaud his courgae, once the elections are conducted Nov 22 2012.

remaining questions

will the Army become more active in politics?

the Maoists are thinking of splitting – what will happen then?

and more.

it’s all anybody’s guess. In the meantime, as one of the articles points out, there is 45% unemployemnt in the country. Many Nepalis I know think the situation is hopeless and are looking for ways to go abroad to work.

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