Political process Cooperation is the key

Nepal is moving towards institutionalisation of democracy and establishment of wider opportunities for peoples’ broader participation in politics and development process. Abolishment of monarchy, election to Constituent Assembly (CA) and recent election of President and Vice-president are notable landmarks in state restructuring and reform process. As citizens we have been craving for peace, security and economic betterment, but the recent bickering of the political parties in forming a stable, nationally acceptable form of consensus government, is once again creating confusion and disappointment.

Successful outcome of Jana Andolan II with reinstitution of parliament and eventual election of CA came as great relief to Nepalis; people were expecting these events to herald an era of national political consensus. Despite various suspicions and uncertainties, election of the CA was held rather peacefully and the outcome was accepted by national and international political groups and organisations. Now Nepali people are patiently waiting the formation of the new government, hoping that once a viable government is in place, it will initiate concrete actions for policy reorientations, governance reforms, and institutional improvements for critical public services delivery and meeting of urgent basic needs of the people.

CA election results were considered a bit surprising but not unwarranted.

Performance of the SPA-supported coalition government of the last two years under the heavy patronage of Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML was utterly frustrating and disappointing. Establishment of ceasefire, persuading CPN-Maoist to come to mainstream politics, signing of the CPA and election to the CA were significant achievements.

However, other side of governance such as maintaining rule of law, security of life and property, delivery of public services and utilities, and overall confidence in the capabilities of the state were at their lowest ebb. It was therefore not surprising that major parties like NC and CPN -UML suffered humiliation in the election. CPN-Maoist emerged as a new, viable and uncharted political force with expectations of people high that it could bring the much-needed social and economic changes.

All the political parties, at least the major ones, should realise that Nepalis strongly feel that, for some years to come, the nation must be governed by coalition of bigger parties on the basis of consensus. The joint government must in turn move collectively not only to draft the new constitution but also to establish the fundamentals for rapid economic growth, modernisation and national prosperity. With such an end in mind, it would be most democratic if the biggest political forces in the CA are duly helped in leading the new government. Other political parties should honestly be a part of that coalition and engage in national consolidation and a strong modern nation building process.

It needs to be realised by the leaders of parties, especially Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, that people expect major changes in policies and past pattern of leadership. As a matter of fact, they would like the country to be governed by a completely new leadership which has a clear vision and different working styles and approaches from their predecessors. Simply because a single party failed to secure an absolute majority does not mean that it should be cornered and coerced to accept conditionalities.

The recent turn of political events especially the breach of understanding, and confrontation during the selection of the candidates for the positions of the president and the vice-president,

are matters of great concern to all. While differences on that mater are by and large resolved and hopefully won’t set a bad precedent in future, it is, however, necessary that parties quickly patch up their differences in forming the new government and get on with the business of governance, and facilitate the process of constitution making.

In respect of democratic values and norms, the CPN-Maoist is expected to form a government under its leadership soon. While it is individual party’s prerogative to join or not to join the new government, people’s expectation is that all the major political parties including NC and CPN-UML and the newly emerged ones like the Forum and TMLP would all be the part of the coalition.

It remains to be seen as to how people’s expectations could be materialise in the coming months and years, but it is definite that people would be active and would remain vigilant in seeing to it that their expectations are actually fulfilled this time around. Hence forward, they would continuously strive for change for political and socio-economic betterment. They will not remain dormant and silent spectators. This needs to be fully understood by political leaders and their young comrades.

Dhungana is an economist