Natural Law Party


Natural Law Party

The Natural Law Party (NLP) was a transnational party based on the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.[1] It was active in up to 74 countries, and ran candidates in at least ten. Founded in 1992, it was mostly disbanded in 2004 but continues in India and in some U.S. states.

The NLP viewed "natural law" as the organizing principle that governs the universe. The Natural Law Party advocated using the Transcendental Meditation technique and the TM-Sidhi program to reduce or eliminate problems in society.

Perhaps the most prominent candidate running on the NLP platform was John Hagelin, who campaigned for U.S. president in 1992, 1996, and 2004. The NLP in the United Kingdom received attention due to the support of former members of The Beatles. The only electoral successes were achieved by the Ajeya Bharat Party in India, which elected a legislator to a state assembly, and by the Croatian NLP, which elected a member of a regional assembly in 1993.[2] Also, in the Netherlands in the province of Flevoland, the NLP has had a candidate in office since around 1993.[citation needed]

Contents

Origins

The Natural Law Party (NLP) was founded in the USA in 1992 by a group of educators, business leaders, and lawyers in Fairfield, Iowa, many of whom practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique.[3] While Natural Law Party leaders denied formal connection with the Transcendental Meditation movement, Bob Roth, a spokesman at the party's headquarters in Fairfield reportedly said, "It's no secret this is the TM party."[4]

Platform

Among other things, the Natural Law Party proposed to:

  • Establish a team of 1,000 yogic flyers. According to the party, such a group "dissolves collective stress, as indicated by significant reductions in crime, unemployment, sickness, and accidents, and improved economic indicators and quality of life". They would also would provide an "invincible defence".
  • Introduce daily Transcendental Meditation for all school students
  • Lower taxes, as yogic flyers will supposedly increase prosperity, allowing the government to collect the same amount of money with a lower tax rate
  • Ban genetic engineering, and encourage organic farming

National branches

The Natural Law Party was reportedly active in 74 countries,[5] including affiliates in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and United Kingdom.

Delegates from 60 countries attended an international convention of Natural Law Parties held in Bonn Germany in 1998.[6]

In addition to national politicians, Benoît Frappé of France was the party's candidate for the European Parliament.[7]

Australia

In 1993, Bevan Morris campaigned for a seat in a district in suburban Adelaide for the Australian House of Representatives on the NLP ticket.[8]

Canada

The Natural Law Party was active in Canadian federal and provincial elections.

India

The Natural Law Party in India is known as the Ajeya Bharat Party (AJBP) or Invincible India party.[6] It promotes a Vedic (spiritual) way of life.[9] It was formed in late 1998 as the political wing of the Maharishi Vedic Vishwa Prashasan (MVVP (Maharishi global administration through natural law)), which had nominated 34 candidates in the February 1998 parliamentary election from Madhya Pradesh. The Maharishi was said to be "keenly interested" in building a political base in his native province.[5] The MVVP received 0.28% of the vote in its first election.[10] Mukesh Nayak left the cabinet and the Congress Party to assume the leadership of the Madhya Pradesh MVVP.[11] For the November 1998 election, the Ajeya Bharat had a list of 100 candidates for the Assembly.[5] It received 0.5% of the vote and won one seat in the 320-member state assembly.[12] The following year, that member switched parties, leaving the Ajeya Bharat with no representation.[13] In 2008, Nayak left the party to rejoin the Congress Party.[14] In 2009, the Ajeya Bharat party president, Ambati Krishnamurthy, filed a complaint against another party for using a flag similar to its own.[15]

Ireland

The Natural Law Party became active in Republic of Ireland in 1994 and was based in Dublin.[citation needed]

Israel

The Natural Law Party of Israel (Hebrew: מפלגת חוק הטבע של ישראל‎, Mifleget Hok HaTeva Shel Yisrael) was a minor political party in Israel. Its leader was Amihai Rokah.[16] In the 1999 elections, the Natural Law Party won 2,924 votes (0.09%), below the 1.5% electoral threshold required to enter the Knesset. It has not run in an election since.[citation needed]

Italy

The Natural Law Party in Italy (Partito della Legge Naturale, PLN) took place to several (both general and local) elections in the nineties. In the 1994 general elections it won 24,897 votes (0.06%) for the Chamber of Deputies[17] and 86,588 votes (0.26%) for the Senate.[18] The list was on ballot in a few constituencies only. In the 1996 general elections the Natural Law Party ran candidates only in the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region, who won 8,298 votes for the Chamber of Deputies[19] and 5,842 for the Senate (about 1% on a regional basis, 0.2% in the whole country).[20]

New Zealand

The Natural Law Party of New Zealand was formed in 1995.[citation needed] The Natural Law Party never won any seats in Parliament, and was removed from the register of official political parties in February 2001.[citation needed]

Trinidad and Tobago

The Natural Law Party in Trinidad and Tobago contested the 1995 general elections. It received 1,590 votes, but failed to win a seat.[21]

United Kingdom

The Natural Law Party was founded in the United Kingdom in March 1992. Geoffrey Clements was its Party Leader.

The UK manifesto, as published on its website [1] was founded on assertions that included:

  1. that the development of consciousness, in particular through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs including Yogic Flying, can enhance society's ability to resolve problems
  2. that the group practice of these techniques by a critical mass of the population, can result in overall improvements in society, including reduced crime, accidents and hospital admissions, and increased prosperity, national security and over all quality of life. The party quoted peer-reviewed published scientific research for many of its assertions.

The UK manifesto also asserted that Natural Law governs the universe, including the lives of the citizens of the UK, and that the Natural Law party had "the scientific knowledge as efficient and nourishing as the government of Nature."[1]

In the 1992 general election, held on 9 April, 310 candidates stood for the NLP in the UK, garnering 0.19% of the vote, with every candidate losing their deposit for failing to receive at least 5% of the vote.[22] The group announced that they had budgeted nearly 1 million pounds for the campaign.[23] A significant number of constituencies were contested by nationals of countries outside the UK, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, as British electoral law allows any member of a Commonwealth country to stand for Parliament. Among them was Canadian-born magician Doug Henning.[24]

George Harrison performed a fund-raising concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London for the NLP on 6 April 1992, his first full concert in the UK since 1969.[25] A week before the general election, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi suggested to Harrison that he, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr stand for election as MPs for Liverpool as NLP candidates, but they declined.[26]

In the 1997 general election, the NLP ran 197 candidates for Parliament in the UK, garnering 0.10% of the vote, with every candidate losing their deposit.[27]

The NLP ran 16 candidates in the 20 by-elections held between 1992 and 1997, with every candidate losing their deposit.[28]

The NLP ran 8 candidates for the 16 by-elections held between 1997 and 2001, averaging 0.10% of the vote, with every candidate losing their deposit.[29]

The NLP did not run any candidates for Parliament in the 2001 general election or in the succeeding by-elections.[30][31]

The party, along with its Northern Ireland wing, voluntarily deregistered with the Electoral Commission at the end of 2003.[32]

United States

The Natural Law Party (United States) ran John Hagelin as its presidential candidate in 1992, 1996, and 2000. He was on ballots in 48 states and received 0.12% of the vote in 1996. The party also ran congressional and local candidates. In California, psychiatrist Harold H. Bloomfield ran as candidate for Governor in 1998.[33] It attempted to merge with the Reform Party in 2000. The NLP in the United States was largely disbanded in 2004. However, some state affiliates, such as Michigan, have kept their ballot positions and have allied with other small parties.[34]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "UK Manifesto, Natural Law Party". Archived from the original on January 23, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5vxjL6Eov. 
  2. ^ "We have lift-off". The Times. March 29, 1993. 
  3. ^ Roth, R: The Natural Law Party: A Reason to Vote, page 285. St. Martin's Press, 1998
  4. ^ PAGE ONE -- Politics and Transcendental Meditation SFGate, December 29, 1995
  5. ^ a b c "A saintly touch to Madhya Pradesh politics". The Statesman (New Delhi): p. 1. November 11, 1998. 
  6. ^ a b Ridge, Mian (August 6, 1999). "The Maharishi at 80: Yogi in the sky with diamonds: A pyramid in India, the tallest building in the world, is among the projects planned by devotees". The Vancouver Sun: p. A.17. 
  7. ^ McGill, Katherine (June 8, 2002). "Micro-parties flourish under election subsidy law". The Independent (London (UK)): p. 13. 
  8. ^ "Commonwealth Of Australia: Legislative Election Of 13 March 1993". Psephos. http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/a/australia/1993/1993repssa.txt. Retrieved December 16, 2009. 
  9. ^ Handoo, Alka Lahori (September 8, 1999). "Rising concern over proliferation of parties in India". New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur): p. 12. 
  10. ^ "India: Mulayam moves come a cropper in Madhya Pradesh". The Hindu: p. 1. March 10, 1998. 
  11. ^ "Former MP minister quits Cong". The Statesman (New Delhi): p. 1. September 4, 1998. 
  12. ^ "MADHYA PRADESH: STATE ELECTION OF 25 NOVEMBER 1998". Psephos. http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/i/india/states/madh1.txt. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Revolt rips BSP apart in Madhya Pradesh". The Statesman (New Delhi): p. 1. October 31, 1999. 
  14. ^ "CONGRESS GETS JOLT IN MADHYA PRADESH". The Hindustan Times (New Delhi). November 5, 2008. 
  15. ^ Legal Correspondent (March 20, 2009). "De-recognition of parties: court orders notices". The Hindu (Chennai). 
  16. ^ "Optional votes;Diary". The Times. June 25, 1992. 
  17. ^ (Italian)Ministry of Internal Affairs of Italy: 1994 Election Results, Chamber of Deputies - proportional
  18. ^ (Italian)Minister of Internal Affairs of Italy: 1994 Election Results, Senate of the Republic
  19. ^ (Italian)Ministry of Internal Affairs of Italy: 1996 Election Results, Chamber of Deputies - proportional
  20. ^ (Italian)Minister of Internal Affairs of Italy: 1996 Election Results, Senate of the Republic
  21. ^ Nohlen, D (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, pp641-642 ISBN 9780199283576
  22. ^ Summary Results 1992 Election Election Demon
  23. ^ "Election 92: Yogi group plan party". The Guardian. March 14, 1992. 
  24. ^ "French premier's ouster expected". Toronto Star: p. A.15. April 1, 1992. 
  25. ^ Israelson, David (April 4, 1992). "Politics brings former Beatle back on stage in Britain". Toronto Star: p. A.3. 
  26. ^ Miles, Barry, "Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now", Macmillan 1998, pp 429-430 Google Books
  27. ^ Summary Results 1997 Election Election Demon
  28. ^ By-elections in the 1992-97 Parliament Election Demon
  29. ^ Results of By-elections to the 52nd United Kingdom Parliament Election Demon
  30. ^ Summary Results 2001 Election Election Demon
  31. ^ Results of By-elections to the 53rd United Kingdom Parliament Election Demon
  32. ^ UK Electoral Commission. Accessed 2010-05-15[dead link]
  33. ^ "MINOR-PARTY CANDIDATES". The Fresno Bee. ASSOCIATED PRESS: p. A.4. October 18, 1998. 
  34. ^ [1] Ballot Access.org, Jan 3 2011, Michigan Natural Law Party Keeps Qualified Status for 2012

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