Saturday, January 07, 2006

Constitutional assembly must to resolve current problems

Kathmandu, Jan 7 - Former speaker & Senior advocate Daman Nath Dhungana on Friday urged the agitating political parties to intensify their democratic movement with the one-point common agenda of a constituent assembly.

Speaking at an interaction program on 'Inclusive democracy: discourse and structure,' organized by the Freedom Forum, Dhungana said, "The nation should go for a constituent assembly to bring the rebels into mainstream politics, ending their violence, and to take a decision about the monarchy's position as well."

He also said it was impossible to achieve the people's aspirations by reactivating the existing constitution that has been radically damaged already, or through reinstatement of the dissolved parliament.

He said the civil society could play a significant role in creating an environment for such political conference.Presenting a concept paper at a programme organised by the Freedom Forum, Dhungana hinted at the possibility of holding elections for both the constituent assembly and House of Representatives, or making a provision that would allow one parliament to play the role of both.

“There is no alternative to a new constitution now,” he said, adding that the Constitution has been “radically damaged.” He said, “The Constitution has suffered so many attacks, people’s aspirations have heightened so much, and the crisis has been internationalised so much that drawing an outlet from this Constitution is impossible.”A third party mediation of any international organisation like the United Nations was needed for the constituent assembly elections, he said, warning “The agitation of the political parties will gain momentum if the king doesn’t listen to the urge for constituent assembly.”

So, the agitating political parties should move ahead with strategy aimed a political conference and constituent assembly, and be ready to take on the burden of statesmanship as well, he further said, adding that the king should agree to this for the sake of monarchy itself.He also criticised the political parties for not being open and committed to the election to a constituent assembly.

Political analyst prof. Krishna Khanal said that the ongoing movement should be targeted at overall restructural change in the state mechanism to address and integrate excluded groups. He claimed that monarchy was not an essential part of democracy.

Shambhu Thapa, president of Nepal Bar Association, outlined the need of internal democratic practices within the democratic forces.

Mainwhile, in protest program held by Nepal Bar Association , President of NBA, Shambhu Thapa, has said that Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel lied to the NBA while appointing judges last week.

Addressing a protest program in the capital against recent appointment of justices to the apex court, Thapa said, "When we approached him (CJ) on December 27 with a list of names of possible candidates for justices as sought by him, he promised us that he was not going to appoint the judges in the near future. But the appointments were made public just a few days after we met him. He lied to us."

Thapa also said that the NBA tried its best to prevent Pawan Kumar Ojha from being appointed a judge and had urged the chief justice many times not to appoint supporters of the royal regime as justices of the SC at this critical hour when people's fundamental rights are at risk. " But the Chief Justice could not resist the pressure from Law Minister Niranjan Thapa and even from the palace, it was claimed.

NBA units organized nationwide protests against the appointments.

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