From lofty rhetorics to workable politics? The case of federalism in post-war Nepal
This thesis investigates federalism (state restructuring) through the empirical analysis of the views held on federalism by a few members of the major political parties in Nepal. A decade long conflict was ended when Comprehensive Peace Accord was agreed in 2006. The terms of CPA and the interim constitution became a source of political argument for Nepal’s leaders; controlled and over represented by High Caste backgrounds in different state mechanisms. The issue of democratic restructuring (defining/categorizing the federal model) was hotly contested and debated, and it resulted in the dissolution of historic CA where members from various backgrounds were represented. The dissolution has concluded in constitutional and political dead lock in Nepal. This study examines the views of a few important political actors on this issue, along with their policies on Natural Resource Management and tax with the help of in-depth interviews and an investigation of their parties’ manifestos and in context of research literature. Through the course of this research, I found that Nepalese political institutions and leaders have to soul searching practice in order to establish a suitable inclusive democracy. However, discussing federalism (state restructuring) and power decentralization is a bipolar issue. Social change is an inevitable process, but culture, tradition, history and identity cannot be denied. Such can be reconciled with democratic inclusive nation building – forming one common identity with national solidarity and secularism that is connected with state sovereignty. The current demand for group right and self-rule among ethnicity base federal units may trigger conflict and overlooks the democratic rights to equal participation. The right to participation and decision-making is the right of any individual and community or group according to the theory of democracy. While advocating for groups rights from ethnic organizations and activist, would exclude the right to participation of non-ethnic minorities. In other word, their right to participation would be hindered. Such advocacy would worsen the situation for people who have been living together for a long time in the same communities, VDC and watersheds. Therefore group rights have to be balanced with individual citizenship rights in order to build up a strong sense of nationalism that keeps sovereignty intact.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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