Tarja Halonen and Jose Ramos-Horta support the ongoing Constitution-making process and women’s participation in Nepal

Club de Madrid Members Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic of Finland (2000-2012), and José Manuel Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste (2007-2012) have visited Nepal in a joint mission co-organized by Demo Finland and Club de Madrid to engage in a dialogue for democratic reform within the constitutional process, focusing on how to overcome women’s double discrimination in divided societies and ensure their effective role in building the new inclusive Nepal.

The Club de Madrid, the largest international forum of democratically elected former Presidents and Prime Ministers, and Demo Finland, a co-operative organization for Finnish parliamentary parties that has worked in Nepal since 2007 supporting democracy, have carried out several meetings with key Nepalese stakeholders such as: President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, 20 members of the Constituent Assembly, representatives of 5 main political parties, and relevant civil society organizations, youth leaders and women’s groups, as well as with UN Women and Ambassadors from several donor countries.

Club de Madrid Members addressed the importance of facilitating women’s participation in meeting the inter-group conflicts in Nepal, especially in relation to the ongoing constitution-making process. They encouraged Nepalese leaders to consolidate and complete the work of the Constituent Assembly, which both considered already a significant collaborative process, and emphasized that the Constitution should be inclusive in terms of gender and ethnicity and protect different cultures and religions present in the country.

Tarja Halonen highlighted the importance of having a good constitutional basis that meets the expectations of the Nepalese. Once approved, the institutions would need to continue working on developing further legislation to implement the Constitution. Training civil servants, educating present and future generations in respecting women’s rights and the rights of the minorities need to complement ongoing efforts on democratic reform. President Halonen very eloquently shared her experience as the first female President of her country being an inspiration for young Nepalese female leaders.

José Ramos-Horta shared his experience from East Timor as a successful example of democratization, where he took his country from devastating conflict to peace and economic growth. Nepalese leaders were interested in learning about the Truth and Friendship Commission in Timor Leste as well as Timor’s efforts on consensus building between polarized groups and parties. His experience of moving from conflict to democracy “without allowing the country to be a hostage of its dark past”, as he stated, can definitely serve as a model for peace building and stability in Nepal.

The Club de Madrid has built on previous successful experiences of knowledge sharing and building political trust while creating safe spaces for inclusive dialogue in countries such as Timor Leste, Bolivia, South Africa, Haiti, and Kyrgyzstan combined with the successful approaches and methodology of the Shared Societies Project.

Demo Finland works in Nepal supporting democracy by facilitating the cross-party cooperation among political youth and student organizations. Demo’s long term program in Nepal aims at enhancing young people’s political empowerment and constructive dialogue across party lines by developing leadership skills and helping the youth to develop their organizations to become more effective, democratic and influential.


Shared Socities Hastag: #sharedsocieties


About the Club de Madrid 

The Club de Madrid is the world´s largest, independent group of democratic, political leaders, committed to addressing the challenges of democratic transition and consolidation there where they can make a difference. The principal added value of the Club de Madrid is a unique membership of nearly 100, democratically elected, former Presidents and Prime Ministers, from over 60 countries (click here to download a complete list of Club de Madrid Members), willing and able to share their diverse expertise, experience and networks in support of democratic values and leadership worldwide. As former Presidents and Prime Ministers, no longer in public office, Club de Madrid Members are not politically constrained and thus freer to share their experience and offer strategic advice.

About Demo Finland:

Political Parties of Finland for Democracy, Demo Finland, functions as a co-operative organisation for Finnish parliamentary parties. Demo Finland is neutral ideologically, party-politically and religiously. It works to support pluralistic democracy by conducting and enabling co-operation projects involving Finnish parties and political movements in partner countries. The purpose of these collaborative projects is to promote dialogue and mutual learning on different forms of democracy, and the problems and possibilities thereof. Demo Finland was established in 2005. Its member parties are eight Parliamentary Parties of Finland.