United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
Federalism discourse in three districts in the Eastern Tarai Issue 42
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When  the  draft  Interim  Constitution  of  Nepal  became  public  in  December  2006  it prompted  protests  from  many  quarters,  most notably Madeshis and Janajatis. The document was prepared by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA)and the Maoists, without broad consultations with other actors, in particular the Madhesi and other ethnic groups. Madhesi civil society groups, like the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF), the Nepal Sadbhawana Party (NSP) as well as Madhesi parliamentarians across party lines demanded explicit commitment to federalism, an electoral system which would have had a greater percentage of seats allocated on the basis of proportional representation and redrawn  electoral  boundaries.  This would,  in  their  view,  have  been  a more  equitable  system.Despite  the  objections,  the  Interim  Constitution  was  passed  by  the  legislature‐parliament  on January  15,  2007.  Immediately,  the  MJF  and  the  NSP  organised  protests  demanding  the amendment of  the  Interim Constitution and  the establishment of  the entire Tarai as one  single province. The protests quickly spread across the Tarai and turned violent in many places.In  response  to  the protests,  then Prime Minister  G P  Koirala  appeared on TV and addressed  the  nation  twice,  on January  31st and on February 7th, 2007. He guaranteed federalism, a redrawing of electoral boundaries again based on population, and the representation of Madhesis and  other minority groups in elected bodies and other state organs. Protests and violence persisted and only died down after the legislature‐parliament  passed  the  1st  amendment to the Interim Constitution  on 12  April 2007.  The  amendment calls  for  the State  to be ”democratic and  federal”, but  there 
was no clear commitment to ‘One Madesh’. After recurrent  protests  from  January 2007 to February 2008, numerous agreements were signed between the Government of Nepal and Madhesi and other agitating ethnic groups, which  assured a mixed system of elections and assured a  federal  republic  through  constitutional amendments. On  the one hand,  these agreements helped  create  the political  climate necessary  for elections, which,  in  the  face  of  such  concerted Madeshi  protests, might  otherwise  have  been  postponed indefinitely. 
Publisher:
UNRCHCO ,   (2012 )
Type / Script:
Bulletin or Poster in English
Keywords:
INTERIM CONSTITUTION, FEDERAL REPUBLIC, INDIGENOUS, DISCOURSE, ETHNIC GROUP, ETHNICITY, DEMOGRAPHY, SOCIAL GROUPS, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS, CIVIL SOCIETY, COMMUNITY SERVICE, VIOLENCE
Thematic Group:
 UNRCHCO (UNRCO) : UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Office (UN Resident Coordinator Office)
Thesaurus:
08.01.00  -  Population Dynamics
Reference Link:
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