December 27, 2017 02:00 AM NPT
National Assembly row
More than two weeks have passed since the final results of elections of federal parliament and provincial assemblies were announced, though Election Commission is yet to publish the final results of the proportional representation (PR) seats for the National Assembly (NA). Political parties are blaming each other for the delays in figuring out the right mechanism to elect the members of NA. We do not see the logic behind delayed political resolution to the current impasse. People voted for stability and want to see the new government spring into action at the earliest. It appears that CPN-UML chairman KP Oli and CPN-Maoist Center’s Pushpa Kamal Dahal have different take on the election method for the National Assembly. Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said the National Assembly won’t be a vibrant place for debates on bills if there is no opposition. Under the majority system, for which the CPN-UML is unwilling to compromise at this point, there will be overwhelming majority of the Left Alliance. Under the Single Transferrable Vote system, we are likely to see decent representation of Nepali Congress and other smaller parties as well.
The way we see it, the dispute over National Assembly can be resolved if the major parties sit for meaningful talks. But this does not seem to be happening. Both ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, which emerged as the largest political party in the recent polls, have stuck to their respective positions, even hardening their stance at times. This won’t solve the problem. Caretaker Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba should take active role in ending the current deadlock. He must be credited for successfully conducting the elections despite all adversities. Now is the time for him to take graceful exit through peaceful transfer of power. The beauty and strength of a democracy lies in the smooth transfer of power after periodic elections. We will have to build that culture so that no individual in power with sinister motive dare think otherwise in future.
The elections have provided us an opportunity to move forward towards stable politics. There is optimism among people that the road to prosperity and economic development has been paved. With the elections, we have also formally embarked on the journey of constitution implementation, for which at least three major parties—Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Maoist Center—should stand together for these parties had been able to promulgate the constitution in 2015 despite all odds. We have come a long way from end of the decade-long war to federal project. There is nothing that cannot be solved through dialogues. Even at the height of deep mistrust political parties were able to sort out the difference over lunch and dinner. Nepalis want to see top leaders sit down and find a way to form the new government so that we can embark on a long and difficult journey of rebuilding our country. Not doing so will not only be against people’s aspiration for stable government, it will also erode the credibility of political parties. This is the time for the parties to rise above petty issues and work for setting the right political culture.