EDITORIAL: Enduring legacy

Oli will be remembered for his far-reaching agreements with two neighbours and for steadfastly sticking to the practice of principle of sovereign equality

The pullout of the CPN-Maoist Centre from the K P Sharma Oli-led coalition government immediately followed by a no-confidence motion in the Legislature-Parliament had set in motion various speculations.

One of the sources of such speculation was the transitional constitutional provisions regarding the appointment of a new prime minister, and this had divided legal opinion in the country.

But Premier Oli proved all doubts to be unfounded – during his address to the House relating to the no-confidence motion, he announced that he had resigned a short while ago and also that the Cabinet had recommended to the President that any hitch in the appointment of the new premier be removed through the removal of constitutional obstacles.

This marks a peaceful transfer of power according to the established parliamentary practice and the Constitution of Nepal; however, the formal handover of power may take another week.

This also marks the participation of some small political parties in the parliamentary discussions despite their vow to boycott the House and negate or force a rewriting of the Constitution.

This also is good news. In a hung parliament, there may be more than one coalition during the tenure of the parliament.

But at this particular juncture in Nepali history, consensus of at least the major political parties is essential for completing the rest of the peace process, particularly the implementation of the Constitution which means holding of the local, Pradesh and federal elections, and completion of certain other tasks like the healing of the wounds of the decade-long Maoist-related violence through an agreed reconciliation process.

But the way Premier Oli was removed has raised serious doubts about whether such a meeting of minds among the major parties will take place or not in the months to come, as in reaching the 16-point agreement which had resulted in the new Constitution.

This is a crucial question which the leadership of the new coalition, to be headed almost certainly by CPN-Maoist Centre chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, will have to tackle.

But the challenges ahead for the new government are tough.

Despite the accusations leveled against Premier Oli, he is leaving Baluwatar at the height of popularity which no Prime Minister had gained at least during more than a quarter-century and which no present leader seems to equal.

His dignified, statesmanlike address in Parliament on Sunday in which he powerfully answered the comment and accusations against him has found wide public appreciation, and Maoist leader Dahal called Oli a “statesman” just after his address.

Besides giving the Nepali people a hope for a better future for Nepal, Oli will be remembered by posterity for his far-reaching agreements with two neighbours, particularly with China, and for steadfastly sticking to the practice of the principle of sovereign equality of nations, big or small.

Against this background and the legacy left by Oli, the incoming coalition will have to do Herculean tasks to win the hearts of the Nepali masses.

The new government deserves the benefit of the doubt and the best wishes for its success in working for Nepal and the Nepalis.

Media mission

A joint mission of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists and Federation of International Journalists have recently visited the Tarai-Madhes to conduct a study about the situation of working journalists during the months long agitation called by the Madhes-centric parties demanding amendments to the new constitution adopted on September 20 last year.

During interactions at various districts over two dozen working journalists complained that they mainly faced security threats both from the agitating groups and security forces, and they could not report events independently and free from reprisal.

Many working journalists had either quit the profession or left the workplace due to intimidation and security threats from both the sides.

Various media reports vilified the media persons for giving favour to the agitating parties or to the government security forces to quell the violent protests.

Some of the local FM stations were also found to be instigating the agitating parties for revolt against the State while others were also allegedly found to be spying against the security forces in the guise of media persons.