[Ex-US President Jimmy Carter, who has provided the stamps-of-approval on many “nation-building” elections and electoral stability–(conditions for foreign investors and for diplomatic “aid” in many countries)–is now playing an even more open role in constructing a “post-People’s War” orthodoxy in Nepal, walling off non-compliant revolutionary people from the new power arrangements. Frontlines ed.]
Constituent Assembly polls likely in November, says Carter
KATHMANDU, APR 01 – Former US president Jimmy Carter on Monday said there is general political consensus that Constituent Assembly (CA) elections are not possible in June.
Carter, who is here on a four-day visit, made the statement after holding talks with President Ram Baran Yadav, Chairman of the Interim Election Government Khil Raj Regmi, top leaders of the major parties and Election Commission officials. With election-related preparations yet to be complete, Carter said the polling date is likely to be set for November.
“I think there is general consensus, which I share, that June election will not be possible at this point,” Carter told a press conference here. “My guess, as a foreigner who is here for three-four days, is that elections will be scheduled for after the monsoon season. The third week of November would be a possible time.”
The 88-year old leader pledged that his organisation, the Carter Center, would monitor the elections, while he vowed to visit Nepal to observe the polls. Carter visited Kathmandu in April 2008 to observe the first CA elections and was recently criticised by leaders from the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML for endorsing the election as “free and fair” on the very day of polling, without making a critical assessment. Responding to the criticism, Carter said that Carter Center staff are stationed in countries months before elections to conduct ‘real’ observations. “There was certainly some intimidation by the Maoists and others, which we acknowledged in our report,” he said. “But, in general, my view was that the election adequately represented the will of the Nepali people. It was not perfect but in my judgment it was honest and fair enough to say that it was a successful election.”
Before wrapping up his visit, Carter said the chief justice-led government was “set up for a temporary basis” and would expire after elections are over. He urged agitating parties to not resort to violence and intimidation to obstruct elections. He expressed serious concern over the ongoing intimidation and violence, including the kidnapping of officials involved in voter registration by the CPN-Maoist and suggested that any interference in the voter roll and election-related activities should be dealt with as a law and order problem. He said the CPN-Maoist should either support the election process by coming to a compromise or be prevented from interfering by using police action. Carter, however, stated that breakaway Maoist leader Mohan Baidya assured him on Sunday that his party would not adopt violence.
“My hope is that if he [Baidya] persists in trying to keep people from registering as voters or holding successful elections, the people who interfere should be arrested and prevented from illegal activities,” said Carter. The CPN-Maoist cannot resort to violence and intimidation, which are illegal, while raising concerns over the legitimacy of the current government, he said.
The former US president, meanwhile, lauded recent political achievements, including the inclusion of women and Dalits in the erstwhile CA, and stressed that the concerns of marginalised communities need to be addressed in the political process.
The Nepali people can be proud of the country’s transition from war to peace and described that it is a “great achievement” to see former warring parties adopt peace and democratic principles, he said.