All the pretty horses

Following the recent Supreme Court judgement, new voices have joined in, or old voices have lent a fresh intensity to, the calls for the dissolution of the present government headed by the King and for an alternative arrangement aimed at the resolution of the political and constitutional crisis dogging the country. For example, some legal experts have pointed out the court’s pronouncement that the people, not the King, are the source of all state powers, in further defence of their stance. The verdict does not provide any room for ‘constructive monarchy’, they said at a programme on Tuesday. Indeed, the court has put to rest any doubts about where state authority and sovereignty lie and that it cannot ignore decisions of serious constitutional importance on the mere grounds that such decisions were made in exercise of royal discretionary powers.

There are people who hope for something better coming up as a result and others who are not so optimistic. Though the government is not visibly feeling easy because of the new addition of setbacks, yet it has not demonstrated any change of heart beyond occasional statements by government leaders calling on the mainstream parties for reconciliation, of course, under the royal road map. The latest has come from home minister Kamal Thapa who, at an interaction programme, spoke against Maoist leader Prachanda for his string of candid and widely talked-about interviews to some national and international media, and urged the parties to take part in the parliamentary election. Tuesday’s reported attempt by Armed Police Force personnel to arrest three CPN-UML central leaders from the party head office, while many people are still in detention, can hardly be taken as a sign of a softening attitude.

While the gravity and complexity of the crisis requires a matching approach, the government is seen to be trying to wish away the problems through far too inadequate measures. A fair idea of this mindset is provided by some pro-palace people’s suggestion, for example, that Nepal’s ambassadors to foreign capitals should be recalled for their failure to sell the February 1 royal action to the international community. The fact, however, remains that that is a tall order for even the best of ambassadors. The trick for good international opinion lies in restoring democracy by opening up to the political parties and becoming well-disposed to a political solution of the insurgency within a broad-based democratic framework. The situation seems to be going out of the government’s hand, and any offer then might not work.