Monday, July 24, 2006

Few know about constituent assembly

An opinion poll, the findings of which were made public today, revealed that as many as 71 per cent of the illiterate respondents from among 1860 were not aware what constituent assembly election meant.

Ditto in the case of respondents from ethnic groups, with 64 per cent of them demonstrating lack of knowledge about constituent assembly elections. Only 4 percent from among Badis, Magars, Tharus and Pariyar communities were aware of what it is all about. Consider this: 31 per cent of the respondents from among farmers, 32 per cent from among members of ethnic groups and 46 of illiterate respondents were found equally ignorant on its technical aspects.

Some 19 per cent of the respondents said it was all about re-writing a constitution. Some 29 per cent of the respondents felt that such an election should ensure representation cutting across religious beliefs, caste, language and geographical divide. Another 25 per cent said it could be based on proportional representation.

Similarly 60 per cent felt that a constituent assembly could bring peace while 31 per cent felt it could herald total democracy. Some 6 per cent felt the election could see Maoists forming a government. Fifty-two per cent felt that the election to constituent assembly be held within six months while another 28 per cent said it could be held in the next 12 months. However, a majority of the respondents from political and professional brackets said an election be held within 6 months.

Then there are 46 per cent of respondents who preferred to issue a call for settlement of Maoist arms before the elections. A large number of respondents felt that democracy can be sustained only if corruption is controlled. The poll, conducted by the Nepal International Electoral Forum, had divided respondents from among political, professional, students, farmers, ethnic and illiterate groups. It was conducted between May 20- June 6 in 31 municipalities in Kathamndu, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, Palpa and Dipayal, among others.

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