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Changed Maoist Party Emerges in Nepal
[Opinion] Election results coming out in the Maoists' favor
Bhuwan Thapaliya (Bhuwan)     Print Article 
Published 2008-04-13 03:28 (KST)   
In an article on Global Politician ("Democratic Premium in Nepal Is Getting Bigger and Wider," April 4), I argued that the democratic premium in Nepal is getting wider. To my utmost dismay, many readers accused me of being pro-Maoist and a defector of democracy without analyzing my article in detail and without reviewing my previous political articles.

One way or another, they countered my article by saying that the Constituent Assembly election in Nepal would never take place due to the Maoists' atrocities. But contrary to their belief, it did take place, and it turned out to be a grand success with over 60 percent turnout.

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And immediately after the voting ended world bodies, including India, the US, the European Union, Britain, Japan, Korea, China, etc., all hailed the election as a historic step toward realizing the aspirations of the people of Nepal for a democratic future.

In that article I had stated, "In the past Maoists were using bullets, but now they are pelting stones and it is not too long before they shall be pelting flowers. That's the only option left before them if they are to come as a major political force in Nepal. Nepal is lucky that the Maoists are transforming, though the process is slow. But the very fact that they are transforming is a step in the right direction for Nepal."

They lambasted me after reading the above paragraph by saying that the Maoists would use force and intimidation to get the election results to turn in their favor and would never transform from using bullets to using ballots. They said the Maoists would not let the election happen, because, according to them, if it happened the Maoists would face a landslide loss.

All in all, I think, its fair for me to say that the fact is open before the world now. Maoists took part in the election. The election was held in a free and fair environment and there was not a trace of Maoist intimidation in most of the election booths, barring a few. And most importantly, the election results are coming out in the Maoists' favor. So far they have won 30 seats out of the declared 49 seats.

Thus, this can be said of the Maoists: Out of the wreckage of Nepal's uncertainty, in the mainstream emerges a changed Maoist party.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, who is leading a 60-member team of international election observers in Kathmandu, said the elections were largely "peaceful" and "orderly" and that he was "very satisfied" with the process, according the media reports.

So what are we to make of this? Maoists are surely transforming and they are reaping the benefit of the transformation because they are leading in most of the CA election race.

Hence, by undermining the popularity of their vicious past, the ballot results are presenting the Maoists with an opportunity that they can use toward making an extraordinary transformation.

Now, there is every chance of the Maoist party diluting the power of its guns forever. This is a good sign for Nepal.

Meanwhile, the successful completion of the CA election has offered a real chance for peace. Slowly and sullenly, amid a flood of complaint and confusion, Nepal is moving toward a durable political settlement.

For all the acrimony, its offers a fine chance of a lasting peace and a lasting settlement. It is a chance that the Nepalese should seize.

If they wish, all sides can view the election as a half-full glass, as representing the best deal available after decades of violence and division. Pessimists, of course, will view it as a half-empty glass, or worse.

But judging from the immediate reaction of Nepalese, the optimists clearly outnumbered the pessimists.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bhuwan Thapaliya

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