Adopt system that addresses diversity: Japanese expert

Kathmandu, March 27:

A Japanese expert on modern political analysis today said “consociational democracy” could be a way out to tackle Nepal’s ethnic, cultural, linguistic and regional diversity.

“Although I do not think consociational democracy to be perfect, I believe that society cannot enjoy peaceful and stable politics in such a volatile context unless such a political system is adopted,” said Prof Rei Shiratori, president of the Institute for Political Studies in Japan (IPSJ), while presenting his paper on elections, electoral systems and democracy at a seminar here.

He said in any society where there were fierce conflicts over race and religion, it was obvious that the simple application of the conventional principle of majority would not solve the problem.

Quoting political scientist Arendt Lijphart, he said a consociational democracy was related to multi-columns of different sectors, which is totally different from traditional Western democratic government based on majority rule. “When there is a problem which is directly related to an individual’s race, religion or culture and if the election becomes only a means to justify the de-facto rule of the majority, the minority will either boycott it or possibly resort to violence to establish their separation and independence,” he further said.

Dr Keiichi Hashimoto, senior advisor to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the provision of deciding the fate of monarchy by a simple majority of the interim parliament would pose a challenge to the constituent assembly polls.

Prof Lok Raj Baral said the process of making a federal Nepal will in fact integrate the country and would find support and cooperation from all sectors, races, castes, and ethnic groups for building a new Nepal.

“It took four years for me to accept the concept of federal system. I believe that the people of Nepal have now become fully mature to understand the essentiality of an integrated country. So the fear of disintegration is baseless,” he said.

He said in the new phase of democratisation no party should think of making a one-party government. The seminar was jointly organised by JICA and the Election Commission.