People’s mandate Maoists’ wrong perception

How can a party securing just 29% votes or 220 out of 601 seats have people’s mandate?

The term people’s mandate has been frequently used in Nepali politics in relation to CA polls. Political leaders interpret this term according to their own interests. Everybody knows what percentage of votes each political party secured. So there should not be any confusion about who got the mandate and who did not. When we talk about people’s mandate, it is in favour of the seven political parties declaring a republic from the first meeting of the constituent assembly and makeing a new constitution according to the will of the people. Maoist leaders blaming PM GP Koirala for going against people’s mandate, in this context, is a bit confusing.

Norms of multiparty democracy and provisions in the interim constitution are now common knowledge. We introduced and inserted the provision for national consensus of seven political parties into the interim constitution, 2063. According to a provision, every decision will be taken with the consensus of the seven parties. Whereas regarding the election of speaker and deputy speaker, appointment of PM, amendment to constitution and vote of no confidence

in the PM, these decisions can be made only with the backing of two-thirds majority of the parliament or in case of consensus among seven parties.

But the political scenario has changed. After the CA election many new political players have emerged as is evident by the presence of 25 political parties in the CA. All of them have people’s mandate. So consensus means unanimous decision of all these political parties. If consensus cannot be arrived at, one has to follow the provisions of interim constitution, 2063.

Of 601 CA seats, the Maoists got 220. This represents about 35% of total seats. Similarly, NC and CPN-UML bagged 110 and 107 seats respectively. No party got either two-thirds or simple majority. In percentage, the Maoists garnered only 29% of votes. It means that 71% of the people voted against them. How can anyone say that a party securing 29% votes or 220 out of 601 seats has people’s mandate? No political party got majority in the CA or clear mandate from the people.

The main goal of CA is to make a new constitution through consensus. Interim constitution vests the right to form government on political parties. But a party must get two-thirds majority in parliament or secure consensus among political parties represented in the CA. Hence the present political process starts from the amendment of the interim constitution, 2063. The recent decision of the Nepali Congress CWC meeting was aimed at ending the political deadlock, not to create a new one. Unless the CA appoints the speaker, who will accept PM’s resignation and appoint a new PM unless there is consensus among 25 political parties? The present speaker has no right to accept PM’s papers and appoint a new one.

The present speaker cannot do anything in the name of the CA. So before the CA session, the constitutional deadlock has to be removed. In this context, it is dishonest to blame NC for obstructing the formation of new government. The NC CWC meeting has already made it clear that NC is not willing to form a new government. NC has also made it clear that it will support only those ready to run the government according to norms and values of multiparty democracy. NC will not join hands with the Maoists unless the latter fulfills the conditions of earlier agreements. No one can aver that people have directed NC to support the party that neither follows norms of multiparty democracy nor previous agreements. Maoist activities after CA election amply illustrate how decocratic the party is. The incident at Shaktikhor PLA barracks shows the level of their loyalty to the rule of law. Similar incidents are taking place across the country. Hence NC decided not to join hands with the Maoists unless they are ready to abide by democratic norms and moral values of the civilised world.

In the end, people have given mandate to seven political parties, not a single outfit. It is the responsibility of the seven party alliance to make the new constitution and hold election as soon as possible. People have not given mandate to any one party to declare programmes for next 40 years or form a single-party government. We can make and unmake government as per the provisions of constitution but priority must be given to drafting a new constitution. NC is committed to this major SPA task.

It is surprising the CPN-Maoist, the largest party in the CA, is acting so irresponsibly. The inaugural CA meet is slated for May 28. When it kicks off, all actions will be carried out in accordance with established procedures and provisions of the interim constitution. Every decision will be made according to the rules adopted by the CA. NC is committed to following its directive. Blaming NC for violating people’s verdict is doing the party great injustice. NC is aware of the norms and values of multi-party democracy, is responsible to the people and committed to following their verdict.

Joshi is NC CWC member