Federalism can end conflict: Expert

Kathmandu, August 19:

The federal state structure can help effectively manage insurgency and social conflicts in multilingual and multicultural society like Nepal, where unitary system has failed to meet the aspirations of diverse communities.

Dr Mahendra Lawoti, an assistant professor of Political Science at Western Michigan University, the USA, expressed this view at an interaction organised by Mahendra Narayan Nidhi Memorial Academy today.

Citing instances of world history, Lawoti said the root cause of insurgency in Nepal was the centralised system of governance that never fulfilled the expectations of the ethnic, backward and marginalised communities.

In Nepal’s context, he proposed federal system of governance based on ethnic and linguistic composition.

“Maoist insurgency resulted due largely to unitary system,” Lawoti said, adding that had there been federal system of governance, the Maoists could have had their government in Rolpa and Rukum and the nation would not have to suffer to this extent.

He said there was no decentralisation of power even after the advent of multiparty democracy in 1990.

He claimed that there would be little chance of separatist movement if there was democratic federal system.

“Had the Sri Lankan government agreed to give autonomy to the Tamil minorities way back in 1970s, they would not have opted for separation later on,” he said, adding that former USSR, Czechoslovakia

and Yugoslavia had to split into many states as there was no democracy and they exercised unitary system of governance.

Lawoti also ruled out the possibility of Nepal splitting into many states as many communities have been living together for more than two centuries.

Lawoti also suggested that there should be a provision in the constitution that gives room to more federations if a certain community demanded it with popular support.

In the federal system of governance, he said, so many institutions would become powerful and if any institution fails to function properly, others would do their job.