Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nepalese Parliament votes for democracy and against monarchy

(Left: Prachanda, Chairman of the CPN(M))

On Friday December 28, 2007, the Nepalese Parliament voted to formally abolish the Nepalese monarchy and to declare Nepal a federal democratic republic.

The abolition of the monarchy will take effect after the election of a constituent assembly in April of 2008.

The decision of the Nepalese Parliament was carried by the required two thirds majority. Out of 321 MPs, 270 voted in favour of the amendment with three against. Two pro-Indian Rastriya Prajatranta Party MPs and Nepal's revisionist Communist Party-United leader Pari Thapa voted against the Bill.

The vote reverses a previous decision which had seen the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) delegation walk out of the Parliament and engage in street level agitation for the abolition of the monarchy.

The CPN(M) will now rejoin the Government and contest the elections in April.

The number of seats in the proposed Constituent Assembly has been increased to 601 under a 'mixed electoral system' in which 240 would be elected to the CA under the first-past-the-post system, 335 under the proportional electoral system while a further 26 members would be nominated by the council of ministers. The CPN(M) had demanded a fully proportional electoral system so as to ensure the representation of women, oppressed classes and oppressed nationalities in the new republican Government.

The immediate obstacle to the smooth transition to a federal democratic republic is the Royal Nepalese Army. Its command structure has been a bulwark of King Gyanendra's regime and has been targetted for infiltration by both the US imperialists and the Indian expansionists.

Trying to foment discord, the international capitalist media, under the guise of reporting on the situation, is sending out signals for preferred options to derail the democratic victory. The BBC news service reported on October 8, after the CPN(M) withdrew from the Government, that "the wider held view is that a final showdown between the army and the Maoists in Kathmandu is more likely than ever. If such a situation arises, nobody knows who will prevail. However, one Indian expert on Nepal, retired Gen Ashok Mehta, believes that Delhi would be prepared to give military help to the government in Kathmandu rather than see the Maoists seizing power by force."

Direct Indian intervention is now a more difficult task given that it is the Nepalese Government itself that has accommodated the CPN(M) demands and voted to abolish the monarchy.

That leaves the staging of some typical CIA provocation, such as the assassination of Gyanendra, to serve as a pretext for a military coup. There are two obstacles to that, however, the first being the direct presence of the United Nations International Monitoring force which is observing both the People's Liberation Army and the Royalist Army in their respective camps, and the second being the PLA itself, which has shown in the past that it is more than a match for the royalist military.

At the moment, it seems like the US imperialists, the Indian expansionists and the feudal regime of King Gyanendra have been checkmated by the revolutionary democrats led by the CPN(M) and their allies among the parliamentary democratic parties of Nepal.

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