Voters perplexed as parties forge ‘strange’ electoral alliances

Published On: May 11, 2017 08:04 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 11: In Kathmandu and Lalitpur metropolitan cities, the main opposition party, CPN-UML, and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have forged an electoral alliance for the mayoral posts in the upcoming local polls scheduled for May 14. Many thought an alliance between the parties that carried leftist and far-rightist political ideologies was highly unlikely until this actually happened. 

The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and the UML have, likewise, made electoral alliances in many rural municipalities in Salyan and Jumla districts. The alliance between the NC and the UML that are poles apart vis-à-vis their political philosophies and the current political issues was considered equally unlikely. 

In Baglung, Myagdi, Lamjung and Manang districts, the ruling CPN (Maoist Center) the UML have formed electoral alliances to secure victory of their candidates. Although both are leftist parties, the electoral alliance now was thought unusual, given the acrimonious relations the two parties have especially after the Maoist Center toppled the UML-led government in August. 

The ruling NC and the CPN (Maoist Center) have forged an electoral alliance in Bharatpur Municipality in Chitwan and  Lekhnath Municipality in Kaski, despite outcry and protests from local NC leaders. While the two parties are coalition partners in the government now, they have always stayed poles apart from the very outset. 

These are just a few typical examples of how political parties have forged electoral alliances for the local polls scheduled for May 14 in provinces 3, 4 and 6. Neither their political ideologies, nor their programs and agenda justify the electoral alliance of the major parties. 

What actually has driven this kind of alliance then? 
Political Analyst Prof Krishna Pokharel believes that the alliance is solely directed to defeat the political party that is deemed strongest in the area. “The alliance is not based on any principle as such. The only thing that explains such alliances is they are aimed at winning by hook or crook. These are temporary alliances guided purely by vested interests,” said Pokharel. 

While electoral alliances are common in all multi-party democratic systems, such alliances are based on similarity in political ideologies, political programs and agenda. “Unfortunately, nothing of this sort can be seen in the alliances that the major parties have forged for this election. It is the genuine voters of the parties who face the brunt of the problem. They are forced to surrender their political conviction and values,” Pokharel said.
Prof Dr Prem Sharma termed such alliances as unholy aimed at gaining power by hook or crook. “All parties should have a distinct political philosophy, ideology and principle. But if you look at the electoral alliances forged in various districts, our parties appear to possess none of them,” Sharma said.

Although alliances among parties are inevitable considering the governance system we have adopted, experts argue that such ‘strange’ alliances do not help to promote the interests of the ordinary people. “These momentary alliances made on the basis of vested interests only blur the party’s agenda and ideology. This has left the ordinary voters without viable alternatives to cast their votes,” Pokharel added.

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