What will happen in the country post May 28 if the Constituent Assembly term is not extended?
Let's not think about what will happen if CA term is not extended now. There is no better option to extending the CA term. The CA is a result of ten-year armed and over sixty-year long unarmed movement. It is the people elected institution which will draft a constitution wanted by the people. We must make the constitution from the same CA and complete the army integration in the same process. So, let's not think CA term will not be extended for now.
Seven-point agreement will no be annulled
We are flexible on the number of combatants to be integrated. We can go for integration if more than 7000 combatants are integrated
We will not compromise on directly elected presidential system
Internal rift in UCPN (M) is ideology driven and not personality driven
If the CA term is not extended, there will be a big accident in the country. So, all political parties have to come to consensus and agree for CA term extension.
What kind of accident?
People will lose the achievement made after so much sacrifice. The nation might become a failed state, there might be external interference and national sovereignty of the country might at stake. People might have to go for another movement.
UCPN (Maoist) has the major role in extending the CA term. To what extent will UCPN (Maoist) be flexible in giving up its stances for the sake of extending CA term?
We have been becoming flexible in all our stances since a long time. We feel responsible for the people and we have become as flexible as possible to preserve the gains of the movement. For example, just yesterday we accepted the Nepal Army's proposal for army integration. It is a lot of flexibility on our part. Initially we had been saying we want a separate force of the People's Liberation Army and we want all 19000 PLA members integrated. Now, we have come to half the number. We have said, we can integrate up to 10,000 persons. We are still flexible on that.
To what extent? What's the minimum number?
We have said up to 10,000. But, we are ready to talk on that. If they agree for more than 7,000 then we will go for integration.
If you were going to be so flexible for the sake of the peace process and the constitution why didn't you do so and bring such proposal six months or one year before? The process would have gone much ahead.
Initially Nepali Congress and other parties had been saying there should be no integration at all. They did not want to integrate even a single PLA member in the army. So, we said we should integrate all 19000 PLA members. So, they have started saying we can integrate 4000 PLA members. It's a process, we had to do this.
What about in the constitution drafting? How flexible is UCPN (Maoist) going to be for the sake of extending the CA?
The major differences now are in the form of governance, state restructuring and election system. We were trying to prepare the first draft of the constitution by May 28. But, now it's not possible. We will discuss with other parties and come to a conclusion. We will adopt required flexibility. However, we will not compromise on the issues of national sovereignty and radical transformation of Nepali society.
UCPN (Maoist) has proposed directly elected presidential system as the form of governance. Will it become flexible on this issue?
No! We might adopt some flexibility in state restructuring, federalism and while forming the states, but we will not change our stance on form of governance.
How will you convince the people that constitution will be drafted in the extended period?
We must do three things to convince the people that we will draft the constitution within the extended period. We must apologise before the people for not being able to draft the constitution on time and express written commitment that we will not repeat the mistake. Then, we must review the progresses made so far in constitution drafting and prepare action plan on how to complete the remaining processes. And, we must forge broad consensus on the outstanding issues in the new constitution and form a sub-committee under the Constitutional Committee to prepare integrated draft.
Why is one year required to complete the constitution?
We want to use this time to take the constitution draft among the people for discussion and incorporate their inputs. However, we can discuss on that and we can become flexible on the period of discussion.
NC has demanded annulment of the seven-point agreement, the change of government in effect, as the first condition for CA term extension. Will your party agree for the annulment of the seven-point agreement?
No, the seven point agreement will not be annulment. The seven-point agreement was done to protect national sovereignty and for the sake of peace and constitution. However, if NC wishes to join the government we can have another agreement.
When the Maoists started people's war, they had shared dreams of a utopian state with equality. Now, even five years after the people have not achieved any of the promises and it does not look like they will be?
We have not digresses from our initial goal. We are the only political party which carries the agenda of the people. It is true that we have been able to do as much as we should have so far. However, we will ensure sooner or later that there will be radical social transformation in the country, that minority groups, ethnic groups and suppressed groups get their due share of the state.
This is too rhetorical, common people will not understand this!
We will provide directly to the common people. We will ensure it in the new constitution. We will guarantee education, employment, housing and other basic rights to everyone in the constitution. We will mention, the state will provide unemployment allowance to unemployed people. We will ensure inclusion to Dalits, women, suppressed and other minority groups.
The internal rift in UCPN (Maoist) has become very conspicuous in the recent days? Given that communist parties in Nepal are quite good at splitting, how long will UCPN (Maoist) survive as one party?
Our party is a living party. What you have described as internal rift is only minor differences in ideologies. Ideological discussions do take place in all healthy parties.
Is the rift ideology driven or personality driven?
It's ideology driven