The threat by the Maoists of Nepal to virtually disrupt the elections for the Constituent Assembly which one hopes will be held during the coming spring season, unless their demand for declaration of Nepal as a Republic proved ineffective, at the end of the debate and voting in the provisional Parliament, with only a consolation prize of getting two of their motions accepted with amendments.
Although an amended version of the demand for declaration of republic was adopted in voting, and their other demand for holding the Constituent Assembly elections on proportional voting basis, was accepted by the House, fact is that unless these motions are voted with two-third majority, the resolutions are ineffective.
The Maoists have been pressuring the Government headed by Nepali Congress supremo Girija Prasad Koirala to get the resolution on declaration of republic accepted and adopted by the provisional Parliament or else leave the seven-party coalition. Shri Koirala let the Maoist Ministers resign, but did not budget an inch on their demands, which included proportional representation for the proposed Constituent Assembly elections.
Ultimately, when Parliament met last evening to hammer out a solution, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist or in short UML), convinced the Maoists to withdraw their resolution and instead proposed a watered down version of the proposal. Accordingly, the wordings were changed to making the Government agree to take ?concrete and necessary steps to hold Constituent Assembly elections by fixing a new date and to declare the country a federal democratic republic?. The House however, accepted the Maoist proposal for a fully proportional electoral system for the CA polls.
However, the Nepali Congress party did not vote for the resolutions, although the Maoist and UML members constituted absolute majority in the provisional Parliament. The party general secretary and a Member of the provisional Parliament Dr. Ram Baran Yadava said that although Parliament had endorsed the proposals, it needed two-third majority to amend the Interim Constitution. This cannot be achieved without the co-operation of the Nepali Congress.
?This endorsement has political importance but has no Constitutional significance?, he said.
Interestingly, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala did not vote for either resolution saying this was aimed at maintaining the unity of the seven-party alliance and he did not wish to be associated with either side.
Later, Maoist lawmaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara said, ?We withdrew the proposal on the issue of republic without deviating for the content and the stand of their proposal and support the UML'samended proposal.
The House was prorogued, after a 25-day stormy session on these twin issues.
It appears that the Maoists and their supporters are refusing to accept the fact that any declaration of republic would lack legitimacy because the present Parliament of more than 370 members is a wholly un-elected House, with the Maoists Members numbering 83 having never been members of any Parliament. They have joined the mainstream after causing bloodshed which killed 13,000 young men and women of Nepal in their ?revolution? modelled on Mao Ze Dong'slong-discarded ideology.