Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Basics of the Nepalese Revolution (part 2)

The Opposition and Their Politics

The last issue I discussed the Maoist party and its leaders in brief. Since this article will be about the opposition and those parties it is important to mention the the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won elections in the Constituent Assembly (in charge of writing a constitution) winning 29.28% of the popular vote and thus 229 seats in the assembly coming one seat shy of having double the seats as the next party.

Nepali Congress

While the name may not suggest it, the Nepali Congress (NC) is a political party and not the congress of Nepal. They describe themselves as Democratic Socialist and they uphold liberalism. They believe in a mix between neo-liberalism and a welfare state. They are in opposition to the Maoist in the UCPN and see market socialism as a good thing and support outright liberalism. The party is guilty of supporting the monarchy in the past. They stopped support opportunistically only when the king declared direct rule but were supporters of his constitutional monarchy until this point. Even then the party remained "open on the issue" of constitutional monarchy after direct rule was implemented(1). In the 2008 election the Nepali Congress won 21.14% of the votes and got 115 seats on the Constituent Assembly making it the second largest party in the assembly. The NC is a member of the Socialist International.

Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist)

The Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) (CPN-UML) Describes itself as "firmly committed to nationalism, democracy, equality and justice and to enhance progress and prosperity of the people." They came up with an idea that has been coined "Peoples Multi-Party Democracy" which the party itself describes as "a creative application of Marxism and Leninism in the Nepalese condition"(2).
In February of 2011 with the support of the Maoist, the CPN-UML won the seat of prime minister of the assembly With 368 out of 601 votes approving the prime minister(3). This was seen as a compromise from the Maoist to show they were willing to share power but at the same time were committed to building socialism above being in charge of the nation. The party is the third largest holder of seats in the Constituent Assembly. Having won 20.33% of the vote the CPN-UML was awarded 108 seats in the assembly.

Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum

The forth largest party in the Constituent Assembly will also be the last party we discuss as no other party got more than five percent of the vote nor holds more than twenty five seats after the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum (MJF). (The parties web site is currently down and has been for at least two weeks so unfortunately all this information comes from their Wikipedia page.) The MJF is a party that is dedicated to creating a federalist state in Nepal with autonomy for the Madhesh (Terai as it is more popularly known) region. The party has declared Social Democracy as its guiding principle. The MJF won 6.32% of the popular vote and earned 54 seats on the Constituent Assembly.


From the information provided here, we see that even the non-communist parties of Nepal uphold social-democracy and left of SD ideologies. The largest conservative party (also label themselves as monarchist and nationalist) the Rastriya Prajatantra Party only won 2.45% of the popular vote and holds 8 seats. Second largest conservative party? The Sadbhavana Party (also conservative monarchist but Hinduism instead of nationalism) won 1.56% of the vote. So I think it is a fair conclusion to announce that by far the people of Nepal are very progressive and the masses voted over overwhelmingly for at least some form of socialism to be built in Nepal.

It goes without saying that the revolution in Nepal is worth supporting, with all of its faults and its successes. In Nepal we are seeing something new. Multiple communist and left-wing parties competing in a democratic battlefield for the support of the masses. But what can we on the outside realistically do? Who do we support? That is easy, we should support any of the parties who are dedicated to advancing socialism! We should support Nepali independence from Chinese and Indian intervention and we should support them against Indian expansionism and imperialism. It is not important that we support one single party but that we support self-determination for the Nepalese people.

*For more information on all the parties visit the Wikipedia page "Napalese Constituent Assembly election, 2008" as a starting point to learn more about the election numbers and the different parties involved. It is interesting to see just how many communist/socialist parties won seats.

All claims supported:(1) "Nepali Congress An Introduction". n.d. Web. Jan/22/2012.

(2) "Ideology and Peoples Movement." n.d. Web. Jan 31 2012.

(3) Walter Smolarek. "New Coalition of Forces Emerges in Nepal's Revolution" Liberation news. Feb/10/2011. Web. Jan/31/2012

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