Showing posts tagged as "Anagha Neelakantan"

Showing posts tagged Anagha Neelakantan

13 Nov
Nepal in budget crisis | ABC Radio Australia
Nepal is once again in crisis, with the caretaker government’s authority to access funds from the treasury coming to an end on Thursday.Nepal which has no parliament nor constitution since May has been surviving on emergency funds after rival political parties failed to pass a fiscal budget in July.Now the Maoist led caretaker government is taking its budget proposal to the president.
FULL TRANSCRIPT (ABC Radio Australia)
Photo: Keso S/Flickr

Nepal in budget crisis | ABC Radio Australia

Nepal is once again in crisis, with the caretaker government’s authority to access funds from the treasury coming to an end on Thursday.

Nepal which has no parliament nor constitution since May has been surviving on emergency funds after rival political parties failed to pass a fiscal budget in July.

Now the Maoist led caretaker government is taking its budget proposal to the president.

FULL TRANSCRIPT (ABC Radio Australia)

Photo: Keso S/Flickr

27 Aug

Nepal’s peace process was to end with a new constitution. Yet, after four years of delays and disputes, the country’s main political parties were unable to agree on federalism, a core demand of large constituencies.

-From Crisis Group’s latest report, Nepal’s Constitution (I): Evolution Not Revolution
Photo: ralky/flickr

Nepal’s peace process was to end with a new constitution. Yet, after four years of delays and disputes, the country’s main political parties were unable to agree on federalism, a core demand of large constituencies.

-From Crisis Group’s latest report, Nepal’s Constitution (I): Evolution Not Revolution

Photo: ralky/flickr

Nepal’s Constitution: The Political Impasse | International Crisis Group
Kathmandu/Brussels  |   27 Aug 2012
Nepal’s major political parties must urgently agree on a roadmap to negotiate on federalism and write the new constitution, whether by holding elections to a new Constituent Assembly or reviving the previous body.
Nepal’s Constitution (I): Evolution not Revolution and Nepal’s Constitution (II): The Expanding Political Matrix, two new reports from the International Crisis Group, describe the interplay of issues, political behaviours and the shifting balance between actors that will determine how Nepal will get a constitution and what it might look like. The papers examine the reasons for the current political deadlock and the options the parties have to improve negotiations and deliver the new constitution. They describe the significant changes in the political landscape, the schisms in major parties and the emergence of new alliances and new actors, and how these affect discussions on federalism.
“To get the constitution-writing process back on track, mainstream politicians have to manage their parties better, listen to diverse opinions, and clarify their own agendas”, says Anagha Neelakantan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for South Asia. “Otherwise they risk ceding political space to extremists who might appear more action-oriented or sympathetic to a frustrated polity”.
Nepali actors are deeply divided on the role of identity politics in the proposed federal set-up.  Their differences reflect divergences within Nepali society. The parties have often not listened to their own members and done very little to explain their sometimes haphazard proposals for federalism to the general public. This has given rise to deep anxieties as well as high expectations. They also made secretive and top-down decisions that went over badly with smaller interest groups.
In the lead-up to the Constituent Assembly’s May 2012 deadline, a sharp social polarisation appeared between groups that demand a federal model based on identity and those that feel they will lose out in the new system. There were also instances of communally tinged violence. Although things are calm now, triggers remain.
The parties must urgently start discussing how to agree on a roadmap. Both options currently on the table, reviving the last Constituent Assembly and holding elections to a new one, contain risks if they are not managed well. How to accommodate the ambitions of parties to lead government should be part of this discussion, but cannot dominate, as it currently does.  The absence of a legislature could worsen tensions between parties. The constitutional ambiguity could also pose a challenge to relations between the prime minister and the president, and the executive and the judiciary. Negotiations on the way ahead and on constitutional issues need to be more transparent and inclusive. There are many groups that want to be heard. Nepal’s parties need to take them into confidence, or risk creating conditions in which violence could become an option. 
“Nepal is undergoing a democratic transition and its political parties must use this to enhance the practice of participatory democracy at all levels”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Acting Asia Program Director. “Negotiating a broadly acceptable constitution is at the heart of this process. Difficult as it might be, this project cannot be abandoned”.
FULL REPORT (I) (Crisis Group)
FULL REPORT (II) (Crisis Group)

Nepal’s Constitution: The Political Impasse | International Crisis Group

Kathmandu/Brussels  |   27 Aug 2012

Nepal’s major political parties must urgently agree on a roadmap to negotiate on federalism and write the new constitution, whether by holding elections to a new Constituent Assembly or reviving the previous body.

Nepal’s Constitution (I): Evolution not Revolution and Nepal’s Constitution (II): The Expanding Political Matrix, two new reports from the International Crisis Group, describe the interplay of issues, political behaviours and the shifting balance between actors that will determine how Nepal will get a constitution and what it might look like. The papers examine the reasons for the current political deadlock and the options the parties have to improve negotiations and deliver the new constitution. They describe the significant changes in the political landscape, the schisms in major parties and the emergence of new alliances and new actors, and how these affect discussions on federalism.

“To get the constitution-writing process back on track, mainstream politicians have to manage their parties better, listen to diverse opinions, and clarify their own agendas”, says Anagha Neelakantan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for South Asia. “Otherwise they risk ceding political space to extremists who might appear more action-oriented or sympathetic to a frustrated polity”.

Nepali actors are deeply divided on the role of identity politics in the proposed federal set-up.  Their differences reflect divergences within Nepali society. The parties have often not listened to their own members and done very little to explain their sometimes haphazard proposals for federalism to the general public. This has given rise to deep anxieties as well as high expectations. They also made secretive and top-down decisions that went over badly with smaller interest groups.

In the lead-up to the Constituent Assembly’s May 2012 deadline, a sharp social polarisation appeared between groups that demand a federal model based on identity and those that feel they will lose out in the new system. There were also instances of communally tinged violence. Although things are calm now, triggers remain.

The parties must urgently start discussing how to agree on a roadmap. Both options currently on the table, reviving the last Constituent Assembly and holding elections to a new one, contain risks if they are not managed well. How to accommodate the ambitions of parties to lead government should be part of this discussion, but cannot dominate, as it currently does.  The absence of a legislature could worsen tensions between parties. The constitutional ambiguity could also pose a challenge to relations between the prime minister and the president, and the executive and the judiciary. Negotiations on the way ahead and on constitutional issues need to be more transparent and inclusive. There are many groups that want to be heard. Nepal’s parties need to take them into confidence, or risk creating conditions in which violence could become an option. 

“Nepal is undergoing a democratic transition and its political parties must use this to enhance the practice of participatory democracy at all levels”, says Paul Quinn-Judge, Crisis Group’s Acting Asia Program Director. “Negotiating a broadly acceptable constitution is at the heart of this process. Difficult as it might be, this project cannot be abandoned”.

FULL REPORT (I) (Crisis Group)

FULL REPORT (II) (Crisis Group)

29 Jun
Humanitarian Fallout From Nepal’s Constitutional Stalemate | IRIN News
One month after Nepal’s prime minister dissolved parliament on 28 May, IRIN takes a look at the humanitarian consequences of the country’s ongoing constitutional deadlock and the rapid succession of governments, in which five prime ministers have held office in the past four years. 
The 600 members of the Constituent Assembly (CA), who were elected in 2008 to draft a new constitution as part of a 2006 peace deal after a decade of civil war, failed to meet the fourth and final deadline to draft a post-conflict constitution on 27 May. 
One of the main deal-breakers was a lack of agreement on how to constitute the federal system. Various parties proposed states based on ethnicity, language or geography, but ultimately the politicians failed to agree on how to administer the country, or what to name the new states. 
FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)


Photo: Phuong Tran/ IRIN

Humanitarian Fallout From Nepal’s Constitutional Stalemate | IRIN News

One month after Nepal’s prime minister dissolved parliament on 28 May, IRIN takes a look at the humanitarian consequences of the country’s ongoing constitutional deadlock and the rapid succession of governments, in which five prime ministers have held office in the past four years. 

The 600 members of the Constituent Assembly (CA), who were elected in 2008 to draft a new constitution as part of a 2006 peace deal after a decade of civil war, failed to meet the fourth and final deadline to draft a post-conflict constitution on 27 May. 

One of the main deal-breakers was a lack of agreement on how to constitute the federal system. Various parties proposed states based on ethnicity, language or geography, but ultimately the politicians failed to agree on how to administer the country, or what to name the new states. 

FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)

Photo: Phuong Tran/ IRIN

29 May
Nepal’s constitutional crisis | Radio Australia

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called upon Nepal’s political parties to return to the negotiating table and finally agree upon the country’s constitution.
The deadline for writing the Nepal has been plunged into crisis in recent days, with the Prime Minister Baburam B dissolving the constituent assembly and calling for fresh elections.
Secretary General Ban, expressed alarm at the developments amid increasing concerns that frustrations over political stalemate could find violent expression on the streets of Nepal.



LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE (Radio Australia)
Photo: Gobierno de Chile/Wikimedia Commons

Nepal’s constitutional crisis | Radio Australia

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called upon Nepal’s political parties to return to the negotiating table and finally agree upon the country’s constitution.

The deadline for writing the Nepal has been plunged into crisis in recent days, with the Prime Minister Baburam B dissolving the constituent assembly and calling for fresh elections.

Secretary General Ban, expressed alarm at the developments amid increasing concerns that frustrations over political stalemate could find violent expression on the streets of Nepal.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE (Radio Australia)

Photo: Gobierno de Chile/Wikimedia Commons

25 May
NEPAL: Divided over federalism | IRIN News
Just days before Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) reaches its fifth deadline to agree on a new constitution on 27 May, the country remains divided over the issue of federalism. “Debates over federalism and identity threaten to polarize Nepali society,” Anagha Neelakantan, South Asia senior analyst for the conflict resolution NGO, International Crisis Group, told IRIN in the capital, Kathmandu. “At the same time, politics and the constitution-writing process are at an impasse, and a constitutional crisis is possible.” The 600-member CA, which also acts as the country’s interim legislature, was tasked in 2008 with drafting the next constitution after a decade-long civil war between Maoist forces and the government ended in 2006. Over 13,000 people lost their lives in the conflict and the nation of 30 million has been without an effective government since then. On 15 May, the CA leaders made a hurried decision to restructure the former Hindu monarchy into 11 federal states, based on “multi-ethnic federalism”, meaning all ethnic groups, not just one ethnic group, would live in a single undivided state. This rather than “identity and capacity based federalism”, in which a single ethnic group and its ability to be self-sustaining, along with geographical and economic considerations, would be the model used. Unable to reach an agreement, the CA requested another three-month extension, but this was rejected by the Supreme Court on 24 May, which directed the government to promulgate a new constitution by the 27 May deadline. 
FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)
Photo: Naresh Newar/IRIN

NEPAL: Divided over federalism | IRIN News

Just days before Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) reaches its fifth deadline to agree on a new constitution on 27 May, the country remains divided over the issue of federalism. 

“Debates over federalism and identity threaten to polarize Nepali society,” Anagha Neelakantan, South Asia senior analyst for the conflict resolution NGO, International Crisis Group, told IRIN in the capital, Kathmandu. “At the same time, politics and the constitution-writing process are at an impasse, and a constitutional crisis is possible.” 

The 600-member CA, which also acts as the country’s interim legislature, was tasked in 2008 with drafting the next constitution after a decade-long civil war between Maoist forces and the government ended in 2006. Over 13,000 people lost their lives in the conflict and the nation of 30 million has been without an effective government since then. 

On 15 May, the CA leaders made a hurried decision to restructure the former Hindu monarchy into 11 federal states, based on “multi-ethnic federalism”, meaning all ethnic groups, not just one ethnic group, would live in a single undivided state. 

This rather than “identity and capacity based federalism”, in which a single ethnic group and its ability to be self-sustaining, along with geographical and economic considerations, would be the model used. 

Unable to reach an agreement, the CA requested another three-month extension, but this was rejected by the Supreme Court on 24 May, which directed the government to promulgate a new constitution by the 27 May deadline. 

FULL ARTICLE (IRIN)

Photo: Naresh Newar/IRIN

13 Dec

Nepal’s Peace Process: The Endgame Nears

Kathmandu/Brussels  |   13 Dec 2011

With the future of the Maoist combatants finally settled, Nepal’s peace process has gained momentum after a long stalemate, but challenges remain, particularly the design of a new federal state and evolving coalition and factional dynamics of the parties.

Nepal’s Peace Process: The Endgame Nears , the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the new alliances and compulsions that enabled the 1 November agreement which restarted the stalled peace process. The Maoist combatants have finally been surveyed to see how many want to enter the Nepal Army and how many want civilian life. Further negotiations will have to take place on ranks and standards for entry into the army. Combatants with disabilities and women who do not qualify for the army will also push for more appropriate retirement packages. Not all combatants are happy with the Maoist leadership. These issues need thoughtful solutions, but are unlikely to result in another prolonged stalemate.

The parties now have to deliver on their major promise of restructuring the state to acknowledge different identities and become more representative and decentralised. The Constituent Assembly (CA), which was renewed for six months until the end of May 2012, will have to balance maximalist demands from both pro- and anti-federalism constituencies. Beyond the capital, identity-based groups have been mobilising for some time. As the future landscape becomes clearer, resistance could also come from traditionally powerful constituencies that are outside the CA and see the proposed changes as a zero-sum game. Kathmandu’s political class will have to ensure the buy-in of these diverse groups, as elite-driven, top-down decisions are unlikely to go down well.

“Although complex negotiations lie ahead, this is still the best chance the parties have had in the peace process to institute some fundamental changes”,  says Anagha Neelakantan, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Nepal. “Federalism goes to the heart of ordinary Nepalis’ expectations and anxieties, and as discussions proceed, groups within and outside the Constituent Assembly will see their options narrow. Political leaders and civil society of all hues will have to resist the urge to sharpen the social polarisation as a way of influencing the debate or gaining points.”

The other major challenge is power-sharing, the most tangible dividend political actors expect from the peace process. The Maoists are ruling in coalition with the Samykuta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of five Madhes-based parties, while the second and third largest parties, the Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), are in opposition. All parties will have to work toward a government of national unity to adopt the constitution. Traditionally conservative parliamentary parties are also re-organising and could play a greater role.

The parties have been slow to meet other major peace process commitments beyond federalism. The disappearance and truth and reconciliation commissions must be formed urgently, before ad hoc decisions on war-era abuses become the norm. The promised land reform commission is not being discussed widely. The commitment to democratise the Nepal Army appears to have been dropped entirely.

“Despite naysayers and sceptics, the peace process is finally moving forward in substantial ways and remains relevant and essential”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “Politicians must now be alert to the dangers of abandoning the promises they made to the Nepali people of a deep transformation of the state”.

FULL REPORT

2 Nov

LA Times: Nepal reaches interim deal with former Maoist rebels

Nepal took a step closer toward a comprehensive peace deal with an agreement forged to integrate about 6,500 former Maoist fighters into the nation’s armed forces and offer compensation packages to the rest.

In a seven-point deal, the Himalayan nation’s four major political parties late Tuesday also agreed to complete the stalled peace process within a month, hand over property seized during the civil war and prepare a draft constitution.

“I’m optimistic,” said Anagha Neelakantan, Katmandu-based senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, which carries out independent analyses. “It contains specifics, unlike previous agreements. It’s also broad-based, with a range of political parties signing on.”

FULL ARTICLE (Los Angeles Times)