Now, the test

Ahead of the commencement of the regular session of the Interim Legislature-Parliament today, the seven political parties have held consultations in an effort to resolve the differences, particularly between the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist, over the implementation of the two resolutions passed by the special session of the parliament through a simple majority. The resolutions – on the adoption of full proportional representation and the fixing of a date for the constituent assembly (CA) election along with the taking of the measures necessary to ensure republicanism – were in themselves a compromise, because the Maoists supported the CPN-UML’s amendment motion and the CPN-UML, in its turn, accepted the Maoist proposal for a switchover to full proportionality. But the Congress voted against both the proposals. Congress leaders have been saying that the resolutions of the parliament do not hold much practical relevance but the Maoists are making it a test case of the Congress’s ‘commitment to the spirit of the parliamentary practices’.

Though the political leaders have been speaking of a solution coming out of the seven-party alliance, including the setting of the date for the election, in this parliamentary session. But political leaders, even those belonging to a single party, seem to be sending out confusing signals through their contradictory statements. On a positive note, Speaker Subas Nembang also spoke of the need to build a new basis of understanding and move ahead. Prime Minister Koirala has also said that the winter session will resolve the impasse, and that the CA polls will be held within this Nepali year. On his part, Maoist chairman Prachanda has stressed the necessity of finding a solution from within the seven political parties, despite his threat of ‘declaring a new parliament from the streets’. No doubt, in view of the compulsions of the situation, the seven political parties will have to retain and strengthen their alliance. The peace process has to be brought to a logical conclusion. The successful conduct of the CA election will form a crucial link in that process.

It would now become a futile exercise to indulge in the game of finding fault with any of the seven political parties by trying to apportion blame for the postponement of the CA polls. That stage is already past, and the need is to look forward to the future. It would be unwise too for any of them, particularly the Big Three, not to see the importance of becoming a little more flexible in order to make the CA polls a certainty. The political and moral implications of the latest parliamentary resolutions are likely to prove too heavy for any of these parties to escape from and still save the peace process. Within the broad import of the resolutions, therefore, they may have to find a new compromise formula, and that may well be called the new basis of political agreement. Each party has also to save its face in public. The most important test of the winter session, as well as of the seven parties, will be whether they can deliver on this score.