Republicans must mend their ways to save republican system

Published On: May 29, 2024 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

A republic is a political system in which governance is conducted by elected representatives from the local to the central level. Nepal adopted this system on May 28, 2008, replacing the monarchy. The republic was born out of a combination of the Maoist armed rebellion, the aspirations of major political parties, and the will of the people. With few exceptions, this system was embraced by nearly everyone. There was a time when the monarchy was seen as a barrier to the country's prosperity. Issues related to education, health, and employment were often addressed directly by the palace, making the monarchy appear detrimental to the nation's progress. This dissatisfaction fueled the desire for a republican system. It was believed that a government by elected representatives would free the country from such obstacles and promote overall development.

However, as the country celebrated the 16th anniversary of the founding of the republican system, the reality post-republic has not met these expectations. Party leaders, who should have been focused on development and prosperity, became entangled in the pursuit of power. Corruption and irregularities flourished, setting new records. Impunity became rampant, and values like honesty, morality, and patience were sidelined. Consequently, people have now begun associating these negative traits with the republic itself, and those in power since its establishment are to blame. The obsession with power led almost all party leaders astray. In their quest for authority, they engaged in numerous misdeeds. They misused the proportional electoral system, diverting benefits meant for marginalized groups to their relatives. State resources were exploited extensively. The legislative process was hijacked for personal gain, with legislators prioritizing budget allocations for their own benefit, further discrediting the republic in the eyes of the people.

The republic was intended to address anger against the centralized state system and promote equitable distribution of resources across class, geography, caste, and location. It aimed to eliminate the hereditary selection of rulers, offering hope for equality and fairness. Unfortunately, leaders forgot these principles. They misinterpreted public respect, believing they could exploit state resources just as the kings had. This arrogance led them to act above the state and the constitution. Current activities by both the ruling party and the opposition, both in the legislature and on the streets, have diminished respect for the republic. Local representatives and employees are frequently caught in corruption scandals. Uncertainty and irregularity are rampant. Those who assume public office often believe they have a license for undesirable activities, fostering widespread disillusionment with the republic. Yet, the leaders remain indifferent.

As the republic is still seen as an alternative to the monarchy by many, it would be a significant achievement if Republic Day could remind people that just as the 240-year-old monarchy was ousted, the entrenched party leaders can also be replaced by the people. The notion that the republic is a tool for personal and familial gain must be rejected. If today's leaders, who are tarnishing the republic, could change their ways, further national decline might be averted. Confidence in democratic governance is waning due to the actions of republican parties. Calls for a return to the old system are growing and cannot be dismissed entirely. If the democratic republic is under threat today, it is not from others, but from the republicans themselves. It is urgent to address this situation. The country cannot endure repeated political upheavals. While the current system is progressive, its practice falls short of expectations. Therefore, Republic Day should inspire everyone to improve their conduct and preserve the integrity of the republic.

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