Youth at the Helm

Published On: December 3, 2022 08:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

As the vote counting is nearing its end, the two largest political parties in parliament — Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML — have expedited preparations to form a new government under their leadership. The CPN (Maoist Center), which has emerged as a distant third party in the House of Representatives (HoR) election, has also staked its claim for the government leadership. It is yet to be seen who will get to lead the first government after the general election held on November 20 as negotiations among the parties have just begun. As a rule of thumb, the largest political party in parliament always gets the first chance to form the government in any democratic system. The second and third largest parties get the opportunity to form a government only when the first largest party fails to garner the required majority in parliament. In that sense, the NC -- the single largest party in parliament -- should lead the new government. This is the mandate given by people through the recently-held parliamentary election.

The final results of three of the 165 constituencies for direct elections are yet to be announced, but the NC has already won 55 seats, CPN-UML 44 and the CPN (Maoist Center) 17 seats in the HoR. While the CPN (Unified Socialist) has bagged 10 seats, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) have each bagged seven seats in parliament. As the vote counting under the PR electoral system is underway, it is estimated that the CPN-UML will get around 34 PR seats, NC around 32 and the Maoist Center around 15 seats. This clearly shows that none of these parties are likely to secure 138 seats to prove their majority in the 275-member parliament to form a new government. So, the NC and the UML, which are trying to form a new government, need to forge alliances with smaller parties to form a new government. As the negotiations to form a new government are underway, Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has reportedly staked claim for the government leadership. Dahal seems to have put forth his claim to lead a new government partly because the Maoist Center appears to be an important ally, if not a kingmaker, in any future alliance to form a government. But if we see the people's mandate that the party has received, it is clear that Maoist Chairman Dahal does not have the public mandate to be the prime minister of the country. Dahal should be ready to honor the people’s mandate. 

Since NC appears to emerge as the single largest political party in parliament, we cannot take otherwise the claim of its President Deuba for the post of new prime minister. Incumbent Prime Minister Deuba has already become the country’s prime minister five times and he plans to break his own record by becoming the prime minister for the sixth time. But the political wave in the country does not seem to be in his favor as there is a popular demand for a youth prime minister to run the country. The emergence of the RSP led by Rabi Lamichhane as the country’s fourth largest political party shows that the people want to see youth leaders at the helm. Keeping this in mind, it is high time Deuba chose to sacrifice his desire to become the country’s prime minister yet again and pave the way for youth leaders within his own party to rule the country. He can act as a guardian and work to further strengthen the party. In fact, Deuba has already contributed what he could to the country in his five stints as the prime minister and the country does not expect anything new or big from him now. So, Deuba is expected to respect the popular will and help the country have a new generation leader in the prime minister’s seat. Deuba’s decision to pave the way for the party’s youth leaders is not only in the interest of his party, but also is in the larger interest of his own political career.

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