At present, there are five primary tasks facing the nation, and all eyes are on the President and the major political parties to see how they attempt to
resolve the issues. The five tasks are making a new constitution; restructuring of the state; holding
periodic elections for the formation of the legislature, central government and local bodies; ensuring good governance and economic development; and
forming a national or independent government to
facilitate or carry out these tasks mentioned above. Whether to hold the elections or not is not a
prerogative of the political parties, it is the people’s right. The question of how to make a new
constitution can only be settled by the people’s
representatives, not by political parties. Therefore, any act of forming a commission or reviving the CA is unconstitutional and undemocratic unless elections are not possible.
Only if the elections are impossible can the political parties, through a round-table conference,
recommend to the President what they want to do. The Prime Minister, unless chosen through political consensus, cannot recommend any political action outside the purview of the Interim Constitution to the President. PM Bhattarai, as a caretaker PM, can only recommend actions allowed by the Interim Constitution. In the meantime, the President must hold the PM accountable for good governance and economic development during the transition
period. The President must proactively promote formation of a
government that can
ensure good governance as well as free, fair, and fear-free elections.
The two primary tasks of the President are to protect the constitution and protect the universal values. Since the Interim constitution has many shortcomings, the President needs to interpret the spirit of the constitution, and he must do so on the basis of fundamental values of democracy and people’s aspirations for justice, prosperity and peace. Unlike the Supreme Court, which interprets the constitution from within, the President, during times of political transition, must interpret the constitution from without. Protecting the constitution from without means being guided by the universal values of democracy, e.g., like fundamental human rights, principles of jurisprudence, and principle of popular consent, that lie beyond the dictates of the political.
The President, as a political entity, can and must enforce these values during periods of political transition. The President, however, should refrain from interfering in political decisions, e.g. like forms of governance, forms of federalism, that only political parties have the right to decide. The President must protect the people’s right to choose their representatives and decision-makers, prevent unfair leeway to militant or activist groups unless endorsed by the people through elections, protect the people’s right to good governance, economic prosperity, and peace, and protect the people’s right to self-determination regarding identity, economic affairs and political affairs. It is important to note than in the absence of a parliament, political parties do not represent the people, they only represent themselves.
The words are sweet and encouraging that the 75-day Bagmati Festival with the slogan “Green Kathmandu, Clean Bagmati” has begun. But, how far will the festival be successful in sending across the awareness that cleaner rivers mean much to the inhabitants of Kathmandu? In fact, the lopsided development of Kathmandu is the reason for all the river systems in the valley, including Bagmati, becoming highly polluted and a blot on our conscience. Moreover, over the years tens of millions rupees have been spent on cleaning up Bagmati but to no avail. The taxpayers just wonder where all the budget earmarked for cleaning Bagmati has gone—the river is all the more worse at present.
The Bagmati Festival initiative must be welcomed to see there are conscious people who want to see a cleaner Bagmati, which has been the lifeline of the people all the way from the Kathmandu Valley to the Terai. The sad state of the river is a reflection of the greed and uncaring attitude of the people who have made the metropolis their residence.