Nepal’s revolution advances
Posted by raleighfist on June 16, 2008
By David Hoskins
The first historic meeting of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly (CA) culminated in the total abolition of Nepal’s monarchy and the establishment of a federal democratic republic. The measure was approved with the support of 560 Assembly members. Only four members voted against it.
Additional actions stripped King Gyanendra of all royal privileges and gave him fifteen days to vacate the palace and live as a common citizen. The royal flag has been removed and the palace is set to be turned into a national museum.
The historic actions of Nepal’s first CA are the result of more than a decade of people’s war led by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which paved the way for the abolition of monarchy and the declaration of a republic.
The CPN-M launched its popular revolution in 1996 to end Nepal’s autocratic monarchy and establish a democratic people’s republic. Following waves of street protests which forced Gyanendra to relinquish some of his power, the CPN-M agreed to a ceasefire in June of 2006 and began preparations to compete in the CA elections.
The CPN-M secured a resounding victory in the April CA elections by coming in first place and winning outright more than half of the directly elected seats, despite repeated attempts at interference by the United States and Nepal’s southern neighbor, India. The revolutionaries’ electoral victory was a vindication of their strategy of people’s war and a strong endorsement of their program to abolish the monarchy and declare a republic.
The CPN-M is set to merge with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Center-Masal). Prachanda, who led the CPN-M through ten years of people’s war and to victory in the CA elections, will likely retain his top leadership post in the new party, which will go simply by the name Communist Party of Nepal.
The latest merger follows a string of other similar mergers between the CPN-M and several smaller, revolutionary workers’ parties. This strengthens the hand of the revolutionary forces in Nepal, which were somewhat divided during the 10 years of people’s war. A stronger and more unified revolutionary party in Nepal is necessary to carry out the fundamental reforms the masses desperately need and to address the deep inequalities that have resulted from 237 years of rule by feudal forces in collaboration with foreign capital.
Nepal’s masses continue to live in deplorable conditions. Only 10 percent of the country has access to electric power. More than 85 percent lack running water and basic sanitation, and malnutrition is rampant among children.
Despite a history of failure to deliver fundamental reforms by Nepal’s traditional parties, the revolutionary forces inside Nepal today are in a unique position to radically alter the political and social landscape.
After 10 years of armed struggle, and years of street protests, the revolutionary forces in Nepal have secured victory in the CA elections, abolished the monarchy and established a federal democratic republic. In this context a united and principled communist party will have the opportunity to carry out fundamental reforms such as land redistribution, electrification of the country and mass literacy campaigns.
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