With grant from the Rights, Inclusion and Democracy Fund through the Enabling State Program, NCCS initiated a project Nepal: Democracy and Constituent Assembly. The project is designed to contribute to democratic transition through the election of Constituent Assembly. It has two components of activities, research and dialogues, and has two phases. The first phase, which is over, was aimed at educating the people about the Constituent Assembly (CA) and understanding the people's expectation from the CA though organizing local dialogues.
For this purpose and for dissemination of knowledge and publications, the NCCS has developed an informal network at local level in five different places, one from each of the five development regions. The Centre is also mobilizing both the local and national media, i.e., newspapers, FM radio and television for public dissemination of knowledge on CA and related issues. The first phase of the project concentrated on two aspects of the processes of the CA. First, the process of the CA inevitably begins with the negotiation with the CPN (Maoist). A lot of questions are involved in this aspect, i.e. negotiations, peace agreement, interim parliament and government, management of the Maoist arms, adjustment of the Maoist's guerillas, dissolution of the Maoist's jana sarkar (government at various levels), mediation by UN or international community etc. NCCS had engaged the people representing different political parties, and also the Maoist, on the given issues. It organized 2 meetings with the representatives of political parties, 1 national dialogue, and 5 local dialogues involving the people from different walk of life, party and ethnic activists, academics, media, civil society members etc. The issues emerging from such local and national dialogues would be helpful to both the Maoist and other political parties to find out the most pragmatic way out for holding CA election. Knowledge was disseminated and feedback taken during the dialogues. A booklet incorporating all feedbacks from national and local dialogues has been published and is being disseminated. By making a rapid research, a team has prepared a concept paper on Constituent Assembly in Nepal, based on literature review, analysis of documents of the political parties including those of CPN (Maoist), media reporting, and findings of local and national dialogues. People's understanding of CA expressed in dialogues both at national and local level are valuable information for the finalization of the paper. As the first phase of the project, completed in March 2007, covered the theme of CA and associated questions in the light of complexity of transitional politics, the second phase will concentrate more on key contents of new constitution to be made by the members of CA. To be undertaken after the election of CA, it will concentrate on contents and modality of the Constituent Assembly.