US envoy for palace-parties unity

Kathmandu, September 1:

American ambassador to Nepal, James F Moriarty, today reiterated that the King must reach out and political parties should make it clear that they are ready to discuss ideas in order to find a common path forward and out of the crisis. The parties, “compromise, they discuss, they form coalitions, and they work together to create policies and governments that fulfil the will of the people,” said the envoy. Moriarty also said the parties were the engine of democracy, but the engine needed to run well for the people to be effectively represented.

“We believe that the best way to get back to a functioning democracy with solid constitutional institutions is for the political parties and palace to reconcile,” said the ambassador. Moriarty repeated that unless the principles of freedom, civil rights, and democracy, take root once again through a process of true reconciliation among legitimate political forces, Nepal would “inexorably slide towards confrontation, confusion, and chaos”.

Meanwhile, a visiting US scholar and political expert after meeting political leaders in Kathmandu and Biratnagar, has concluded that Nepal’s crisis can be resolved only through dialogue. “How we get to that point (the process of dialogue) is important,” said Prof Edward McMahon, who is a lecturer at the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics and the Department of Political Science, University of Vermont. He, however, refused to say on who should initiate the process of dialogue. Prof McMahon said there existed perceptions that parties lack internal democracy, they don’t have inclusiveness and parties lead to division in the countries. “To turn around such perceptions is a challenge,” he said.

According to him, internal party democracy and transparency in party finances, expanding party managerial and resource capacity, and acknowledging past errors while noting actual achievements of the democratic period, are a few issues for the parties to deal with in order to build credibility. Prof McMahon said it is necessary to spread the message by gathering opinion, identifying specific groups the party wishes to appeal to broaden the support base, developing appropriate and targeted messages. He added that parties should also have “focused messages that are consistently communicated and articulate positive vision that moves beyond generalities, and is also realistic, credible and achievable.” He said coalitions can be built by electoral reform and political party law in institutional context and also by the development of a democratic political culture of trust and recognition of a greater common good.