Monday, June 30, 2008
The world's only Hindu monarchy - abolished.
The Monarch - out of the palace and out of office.
The Palace - soon to open as a national museum.
The Monarch's money - ?????
UNMIN and Carter Center - on their way out of the country, their mission accomplished (?)
Ongoing violence - Minimal
Prime Minister Koirala - resigned
The major political parties: Nepali Congress (good old power party democrats), Maoists (former insurgents), United Marxist-Leninists(middle of the road) - at least at the table together working through the issues.
Major issues on the table:
THE BIG ONE: What to do with the Maoist army? Merge with the Nepali army or military policy? Continue as a separate "security" force?
The roles of the office of prime minister and newly created postions of President and V.P.
Which policies, laws, etc. require a 2/3 majority (this favors the NC, UML) and which ones require a simple majority (favors the Maoists.)
Resolution of land disputes (land taken during the insurgency.)
Accounting of the "disappeared" people - this number is somewhere between 796 (Govt. figures) to around 1800 (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.)
"It's Always Something." This is my favorite new phrase that I hear uttered almost everyday from one of my Nepali friends. Could be about a strike, a protest, a fuel hike, or party walkout during the new government talks, or a big monsoon rain. This time it's about the Madhesi party's walkout and demand that they be declared an "autonomous state." ("If the Tibetans can do it in China, why can't we?") The Madhesi ethnic group is one that was totally marginalized under the Monarchy. No voice. No input. Funny thing is that they are one of the most populous groups and they control the Terai - the delta-like region between Kathmandu and India. They are not aligned with the old parties (NC and UML) or the Maoists. Negotiations are underway but if they don't go well we are prepared to live under another strike. The Madhesis threaten to block the transport of petrol and all other goods from India. Basically, if this happens, those of us in Kathmandu are without transportation and power...again.