The seven political parties, including the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress, have, at last, unveiled their ‘common agreement and commitment’ in the capital on Sunday, stressing movement as the only alternative to push for the restoration of the House of Representatives, which will, according to them, serve as a ‘starting point’ for the resolution of the constitutional crisis and the Maoist insurgency. Sher Bahadur Deuba’s NC-D, previously opposed to the idea, has joined forces for the cause, along with the CPN-UML, which had not been so enthusiastic about it, either. The alliance accounts for 95 per cent of the seats in the dissolved Lower House, though two parties of former Panchas—the RPP and the Rastriya Janashakti Party—have not joined it.
Several options, including the restoration of the House, have been floated to bring the derailed Constitution back on track. Article 127 has been used, too, for the past 31 months. But nobody has been able to provide a fresh parliament. After so much lapse of time, polls have been promised within a year, but for the municipalities only. Giving those in power the benefit of the doubt, one is led to believe that the parliamentary polls are not feasible in the present security environment.
Moreover, the Constitution does not necessarily envisage a prolonged application and use of Article 127. Against this background, the restoration of the House has emerged as a powerful option, made more so by the seven parties’ common agenda. The international community will most probably readily support this option, which will also help improve Nepal’s image abroad and re-start the inflow of aid. In a welcome gesture, the parties, in their three-page declaration, have admitted their shortcomings in fighting corruption and providing good governance, in managing conflict and perceiving and pre-empting the danger of regression. At the same time, they pledged to make self-criticism and avoid repeating the mistakes. They have also expressed the resolve to move ahead, protecting the gains of the 1990 movement. In this, they have adopted a flexible approach, keeping open such options as referendum and constituent assembly. Therefore, restoration merits active consideration from the standpoint of electing a fresh parliament and dealing effectively with the Maoist insurgency.