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Nepal: Prime Minister Prachanda resigns

Image credit Wikipedia: released in public domain

Image credit: Wikipedia

Today (Monday, May 4, 2009) at 3 PM local time, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) announced his resignation through a press conference, pushing the already troubled country further into crises. His resignation comes after President Ram Baran Yadav reinstated the sacked army chief Rookmangud Katwal.

Only ten days ago there were allegations that the generals of Nepal Army were making plans of a ’soft coup’ to tackle Maoist’s plan to dismiss the Army chief.

Binaj Gurubacharya at The Huffington Post provides the background:

“Dahal, a former Maoist rebel leader, sacked army chief Rookmangud Katawal on Sunday after the two quarreled over the enlistment of former rebels into army ranks. President Ram Baran Yadav, who officially commands Nepal's military, rejected Dahal's decision and ordered Katawal to return to work in a late night notice.

Nepal's Maoists fought a bloody, 10-year war against the government before joining the political mainstream in 2006 and winning the most votes during elections last year after the Himalayan country abolished its centuries-old monarchy. However, many of the former Maoist fighters remain restricted to U.N.-monitored barracks under a peace accord.

Dahal wanted them freed and integrated into the military, as prescribed under a U.N.-brokered peace agreement. But Katawal resisted those efforts and sparred repeatedly with the government over the issue.”

Here is the video of the Prime Minster’s press meet [In Nepali], where he announced his resignation and accused the President of staging a “constitutional coup” by reinstating sacked army chief Katwal.

Prachanda said that the President's action is unconstitutional and alleged that foreign powers and his political rivals pushed Nepal’s figure head President to defy his decision.

Neil's Nepal explains the constitutional issue regarding the President's letter:

What should be plain to all here is that there is nothing unconstitutional about the defense ministry sacking the army chief. However, there is nothing constitutional about a ceremonial president giving orders countermanding such a proposal. This letter is tantamount to authorization to conduct a military coup. We shall see how the Maoist contingency plans hold up.

At United We Blog, readers seem divided over Prachanda’s decision to quit. Some have praised him for keeping his word but some accuse him of being reckless.

Ahimsa comments that:

“(Royal) Army has taken over!. By blocking the integration of PLA into the National Army, the (Royal) Army has successfully spoiled the peace process in Nepal. They will most likely now try to enrage and radicalize the Maoists to get the public consent to impose martial law. Bye, bye Republic of Nepal.”

Nepali’s views are very different from Ahimsa:

“when pm dares to make such foolhardy and reckless decision , what a general Nepali can expect from him…….except resignation”

Nepali language blog Mysansar is also covering the ongoing political crises in Nepal. In a post on the Prime Minister’s resignation, it claims that now the main opposition party Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist and Leninist) (UML) is in the race to form new government under the leadership of its former General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal.

A reader, Lax, at Mysansar, commenting on Prime Minister’s resignation says that the people’s aspirations for better future are being quashed for political goals:

“It’s the same game again, we have seen over and over in the Nepali politics. A selfish and power hunger struggle in the name of general public’s interest. It’s even a sad tragedy to see the same public being played and swayed again and again by the same so called corrupt leaders who have already deceived and shown their true colors in the past. Nepali Janta never learns a lesson. As long as these leaders are alive, nothing is going change at all. Don’t let anybody use you. Come out of that unconsciousness and decide your fate yourself.”

Late breaking news from Kathmandu, as reported by Republica, says that the Maoists have announced new round of protest against the President.

“A secretariat meeting the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has decided to intensify struggle in the parliament and the street until President Dr Ram Baran withdraws his “unconstitutional” move. [..]”

6 comments

  • Louis Godena

    The Maoists have correctly concluded that “the party must control the gun, and not have the gun (military) control the party.” That is the key to state power. Without it, the Maoists would be impotent and in fact in danger of annihilation, as happened in so many other revolutions. The former ruling classes of Nepal are not going to be bound by any UN-brokered peace agreement (which in fact called for the Maoist armed cadres to be integrated into the national army). Better to return to the battlefield and do it right this time; sieze total power and then be in a position to carry through the urgently needed reforms while sending the landlords, and the priests, and the generals packing.

  • Preetam Rai

    Good round up Bhumika. Indeed disappointing how this turned out.

  • RAMESHWOR

    WE ALL NEPALESE PEOPLE KNOWN THAT MAIOST HAS REACHED THIS POSITION DUE TO THE PEOPLE WERE THERETEN BY THEM IF NOT VOTE FEVOURING THEM THEY PEOPLE HAVE TO PROVIDE FOOD, CLOTH, HOUSE AND DONATION OTHERWISE PEOPLE HAVE TO PROVIDE VOTE. SO THAT THEY REACHED THIS POSITION PRIMINISTER OF THE NEPAL BUT THEY THOUGHT POLTICAL PARTY MAIOST AND GOVERNMENT IS SAME , AND TREATED AS SAME LEVEL THAT WAS THEIR MISTAKE AND THEIR MAIN THEM IS HOW TO CAPATURE WHOLE NATION IN THEIR HAND THIS WAS HIS MISTAKE. OTHER THING POOR PEOPLE ARE BACK OF THIS PARTY DUE TO THEY HAVE TOLS THEM IF WE WON THE ELECTION WE WILL PROVIDE FOOD, LAND, CLOTHES, FREE SCHOOL, FREE WIFE, LAND WILL BE DEVIDED THEM FROM RICH PEOPLE BUT INSTEAD OF THIS THEY HAVE TO SAY THEM WE WILL PROVIDE JOB, OPPURNITY, FREE SCHOOL UP TO THIS LEVEL, LEVEL OF TAX, SPECILA CARE OF POOR PEOPLE, BUT THEIR THEM IS GRABING FROM RICH PEOPLE AND DISTRUBUTION TO POOR PEOPLE IT WAS ACTALLY WRONG PRACTICE AND HAVE TO THOUGHT COUNTRY SITUTION AND COUNTRY STRENGTHNESS. STILL THEY HAVE TO TRY HOW TO GRAB WEALTH FM RICH PEOPLE AND HOW TO DISTRIBUTATION POOR NOT ACTUALLY GIVING MORE OPPURNITY TO POOR PEOPLE TO GROW THEIR INCOME.

  • bipin

    hello and hi maiost is a mojor party and most of the people thought they have to rule in the nation but thay do not want to rule in the natuion as people thought so now thay are regined from the prime minster post. their party decided one thing but people wants another thing . now we anormal have to right thing in nepal every people have been thought if here maiost have to zero or other part have to zero then peace become in nepal. so international have to clear in such case and step being move from this point. in miost most of the people are criminal due to punishmentless nation.

    • ganesh

      its good abut whatever the prime minister did
      we should accept this.
      so peace comes as soon as possible

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