33-party alliance warns against use of Nepali Army during election
KATHMANDU: The CPN-Maoist-led 33-party alliance today warned the government and the parties in the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) against mobilising the army during the election, saying such a move would drag the country towards confrontation. “Our attention has been drawn towards media reports that the army will be mobilised to conduct election,” CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung said, adding:
“If that is true, mobilising the army, meant for safeguarding national sovereignty, will invite further confrontation”. He said the alliance had the right to boycott election as others had the right to take part in it. The army cannot be mobilised to suppress the voices of those who oppose polls, he said. Asked to comment if the alliance agreed with the HLPC’s decision to increase the strength of the Constituent Assembly to 601 from the proposed 585 — 240 seats under the first-past-the-post category, 335 under proportion representation and 10 seats to be nominated by the council of ministers — Gurung said they favoured a fully-proportional representation system of election.
He said they would not accept the mixed-election system as it had failed to deliver the constitution. He reiterated the 33-party alliance’s stand that a round table conference should be held to discuss all issues, including the election and contents of the new constitution. “Without agreeing on contents of the constitution, it is meaningless to hold election as past experience has proved it,” Gurung said, adding that foreign forces were preventing HLPC from reaching national consensus. Gurung also demanded that the government issue a public statement about the two Indian nationals who were arrested last week “near the Nepal-India border” last week.
“The government should make it clear where those Indian nationals, who are accused of involvement in a number of terrorist attacks in India, were arrested and who was involved in their arrest,” Gurung questioned. The alliance has also demanded that the government provide compensation to poultry farmers who suffered huge financial loss due to spread of bird flu, resulting in the culling of thousands of fowls across the country.
The alliance informed that Kathmandu Valley bandh, which it had called on September 11 had been rescheduled for the next day considering the final match of the SAFF championship on September 11. All Nepal Football Association had urged the alliance to cancel their bandh on that day. The alliance also decided to call a bandh in the mid-hills on September 15 instead of September 17 as Bishwokarma Puja falls on that day.
Guidelines needed if temporary police, Army are to be deployed for poll security
SEP 05 – A pressing problem that needs to be sorted out before elections can take place in November is that of election security. This is a multifaceted matter which has received relatively little attention. One aspect that only recently became prominent is the issue of hiring temporary police personnel. The Election Commission (EC) requires over 100,000 security personnel to be deployed to over 18,000 polling centres across the country.
The Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force combined can only offer around 76,000 personnel. The government is aware of this shortfall and with this in mind, the Home Ministry recently sought the EC’s consent to allow the recruitment of around 50,000 temporary police. This request has put the EC in a difficult spot. Previously, the commission had decided not to allow the recruitment of temporary police personnel.
There are sound reasons behind this decision. In the past, temporary police personnel have been notoriously inefficient. There has also been a tendency for them to be politically affiliated and to act on behalf of particular political parties. Such concerns gain even more salience in elections such as the forthcoming one where a militant group—the CPN-Maoist—plans to boycott it. The EC fears that the CPN-Maoist will infiltrate the temporary police force and use it to wreak havoc during the elections.
There are also plans to deploy the Nepal Army during the elections. All major parties seem convinced that this is necessary. But there is reason to be cautious about this plan as well. The Nepal Army has mostly been confined to barracks since 2006. Unlike the police, therefore, they haven’t had much interaction with the general population since that time. Before 2006, the Army was involved in counter-insurgency operations.
During that time, it antagonised large sections of the population through its brutal methods. There is a danger that the Army will once again use heavy-handed force if it is deployed during the forthcoming election. This can possibly lead to the flaring up of large-scale violence, especially if the CPN-Maoist decides to retaliate. Both the above-mentioned options—recruiting temporary police personnel and deploying the Nepal Army—should not be rejected outright as they both offer some kind of solution to the problem of electoral security.
However, the government needs to first formulate precise policies and guidelines providing instruction to these organisations about how they should mobilise. The focus should be on creating a safe and secure environment for candidates and voters not only on Election Day but also during the run-up to E-Day. Care should be taken to not provoke the CPN-Maoist but security personnel must be prepared to respond effectively but prudently to any violent activities aimed at disrupting the election process and voting. A failure to pay attention to such matters can have highly damaging consequences.
We don’t accept elections under military force: Gajurel
KATHMANDU, Sept 5: CPN (Maoist) vice chairman CP Gajurel said that his party does not accept the round table meeting without constitutional provision. Speaking at an interaction organized by Reporters Club Nepal, Gajurel said a necessary amendment to the Interim Constitution is a must prior to holding the round table meeting. “We don’t accept the round table meeting organized by the four party syndicate,” Gajurel said , adding that the party should be ready to put off the stipulated date of the Constituent Assembly elections if they are really want the election.
He stated that the decision on disputed issues should be made by the two-third majority or unanimously in the round table meeting. He said his party will accept any kinds of decisions made through this procedure. He underlined the need to sort out the thorny issues such as the date of elections and the issue of the new government. He vehemently stated that the election would be a far cry if his party is sidelined.
Referring to the possible confrontations and crisis, he ruled out the elections held unilaterally by the four parties, overlooking his party’s consensus. He further said the election held under military force indicates the state of emergency which will ultimately invalidate the legitimacy of the free and fare elections.
Forceful election unacceptable: Chand
MORANG: Secretary of the CPN-Maoist, Netra Bikram Chand, has said his party would not accept the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections held in a forceful way. It would be protested, he warned. Addressing the programme of the People’s Volunteer’s Bureau, party’s wing, in Morang on Thursday, Secretary Chand accused the Nepali Congress and other parties of trying to hold the election in a unilateral manner. A group of youths affiliated to the Bureau conducted a march past during the programme.