We are looking for political normalcy that will ensure national solidarity, economic development, justice and good governance. The primary preconditions for political normalcy are a full-fledged constitution, restructuring of the state to allow federal units, and a fresh election. The debate over nationalisms and the right to self-determination has reached such a point in Nepal that it constitutes the primary fault-line that determines Nepal’s political future. In the absence of elected representatives, it will be difficult to exclude any major stakeholder from the process. Given the heated debates regarding the nature of such states—whether they are to be created along ethnic lines—it would be difficult to create consensus about the political rights, boundaries, and naming of the states. Nepal is not likely to free itself from political conflict without writing a new constitution. The current constitution is an interim one, which is both incomplete and contested. The basic principles of drafting a new constitution are that the people should write their own constitution and that there should be public ownership of the process and its results.
It is therefore, necessary to create decision-making mechanisms to write a constitution and restructure the country. These mechanisms need to be agreeable to all major political stakeholders in the country. Another key question is whether such a decision-making mechanism is to be created before elections or after it. We could go for another Constituent Assembly, which could be very costly, a commission, or a parliamentary committee. There are multiple options regarding how this can be achieved, but at present Nepali people are looking at an option that is cost-effective, viable and legitimate. The issue of restructuring of the state cannot be completely separated from the task of drafting a new constitution. However, it makes sense to have two parallel processes so that hurdles in one do not obstruct decision-making in the other. However, it is easier said than done. It is for the political stakeholders to decide, and for people to approve, what the best option would be.
Election is also mandatory, whether to finalise a new constitution, restructure the state or fulfill the requirement of periodic elections. However, there are two prerequisites for an election. One is the formation of a national government that can guarantee free, fair and peaceful elections. Another is electoral reforms and empowering of the Election Commission. Absence of violent events does not mean peace. Although the last election was relatively peaceful, compared to the conflict that preceded it, it was not free of intimidation. In villages after villages, international observers were unable to document the level of fear that permeated the society, which prevented the people from exercising their free will. Secondly, although it could be hard to control the misuse of money during elections, election commissions have been able to control use of muscle power and physical threats. The EC should be able to ensure voter security, decriminalization of elections, and ensure political parties adhere to fiscal transparency, and legal provisions aimed at political parties reforms.
It is during the summer when the outbreak of summer diseases is most likely. Many of the diseases can be very debilitating and also fatal. The best way to deal with possible outbreaks of the various summer diseases is being careful of the food you eat and the water you drink. It is always better to take the precautions instead of having to regret later. The public must, therefore, be advised to take the necessary steps in order to avert the summer diseases. Meanwhile, the mid-west and far-west districts have been identified as being more at risk from these diseases. As such, that the District Health Offices of these regions have maintained high alert to fight the diseases and have instructed their paramedics to stay in their post from mid-April to mid-August is indeed appropriate.
Taking these measures would no doubt assist to avert the possible casualties. That the necessary medicines would be stocked to treat at least a 100 patients at a time is prudent. The health authorities have learnt from their past mistakes, and let us hope that they do not repeat them.