19 March 2006

Another blow for popular sovereignty in Nepal

On March 19, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the seven party pro-democracy alliance released two separate but identically worded statements. Titled the 'Second Understanding between the Seven Party Alliance and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)', the statement would have had greater impact as a joint (i.e. seven-plus-one) communique as was originally envisaged but is nevertheless a landmark event. Despite the pressure from the United States and King Gyanendra, the parties have held firm to the 12-point agreement. The text in English is given below, via INSN. Incidentally, the first understanding between the SPA and the Maoists -- the 12-point agreement of 22 November 2005 -- was also issued in the same manner, as separate but identical statements.

In a press release issued on Sunday, the United People's Movement All Party Central Meeting said it met on March 19, 2006 at the Maharajgunj, Kathmandu residence of Nepali Congress leader Girija Prasad Koirala and had taken the decision to make public the understanding reached between the seven political parties and the CPN Maoist. "We are committed to move forward by further concretizing and clarifying the 12 point understanding reached in the past", the release said.

In separate press releases issued on Sunday, CPN (Maoist) leader Prachanda said the Maoists were calling off their bandh and would fully support the April 6-9 protest of the parties. He also hailed the 'second understanding' as a major step forward for the struggle against the autocratic monarchy.

The Second Memorandum of Understanding

between the Seven Parties Alliance and CPN (Maoists)

Everyone is well aware of the 12-point understanding reached between the seven party alliance and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) on November 22, 2005 for loktantra, peace, prosperity, forward thinking, and national independence. The understanding created a nationwide wave which completely defeated the February 8 municipal polls orchestrated by the autocratic regime. This failure leaves no doubt that the understanding has been endorsed by the people. The widespread international support for the 12-point understanding also proves that it is the real foundation for the resolution of the conflict. On this occasion we express our strong commitment for the firm implementation of the understanding from all quarters.

We would like to once again recall that the seven parties are fully convinced that the force of the movement will restore parliament which in turn will form an all powerful interim government and conduct constituent assembly elections on the basis of dialogue and agreement with the Maoists. Such elections will end the conflict, establish loktantra, and restore people’s sovereign and state power. The Maoists feel and are committed that an interim government formed by a national conference of democratic forces and the constituent assembly elections conducted by it can lead to the above-mentioned political goal. We [political parties and Maoists] have agreed that we will continue dialogue on this procedural issue and reach a common agreement.

We have agreed that the People’s Movement is the only means to achieve our goal. We appeal to all the democratic forces, civil society, professional groups, marginalized and oppressed people, the press and public to actively take part in the ongoing peaceful movement that will establish absolute democracy which will restore people’s sovereignty and state power through constituent assembly elections. Likewise we would like to appeal to the international community to provide all support in our attempt to end the 10-year old armed conflict and establish peace and loktantra by ending Nepal’s autocratic monarchy.

Together with this understanding, Seven Party Alliance has made a call for a non-cooperation movement and massive mass mobilization programs on April 6, 7, 8, and 9 in Kathmandu. The SPA has also requested CPN (Maoists) to withdraw its ongoing blockade programs and extend its full support to the SPA programs.

In response to the SPA’s demand, CPN (M) has issued a statement agreeing to withdraw the ongoing blockade programs effective from tomorrow and extended its full support and cooperation to the April 6,7,8 and 9 SPA’s Kathmandu centered agitation programs.


This MoU was signed by Girija Prasad Koirala, President, Nepali Congress, Amrit Kumar Bohara, Acting General Secretary, CPN (Unified Marxist-Leninist), Sher Bahadur Deuba, President, Nepali Congress-Democratic, Lila Mani Pokharel, Vice-president, People's Front, Nepal, Narayan Man Bijukshe, President, Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Rajendra Mahato, General Secretary, Nepal Sadhbhawana Party (AanandiDevi), and Nanda Kumar Prasai, President, United Left Front.

CPN (Maoist) leader Prachanda signed the same MoU separately.

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