Popularly elected executive A must in the new Constitution
I once believed that politics was a dirty game. That was a general consensus when I was attending
Amrit Science College in the 1980s. The cynicism also affected me. The compulsory political science classes in the United States of America finally changed my perception on the nature and importance of politics.
I developed an understanding and a healthy respect for politics. Even though I changed, the
politics of Nepal didn't. In fact, Nepal has deteriorated to the point where everything has been pushed to the brink. The disgusting nature of politics has manifested again in the current state of impasse
between the main political parties. The people know that the politicians are missing the forest for the tree.
Never in the history of Nepal has the political leaders and their parties been able to rise above
petty interests, personal ambition and countless selfish motives. The clash of these worthless egos, ambitions and one-upmanship has pushed the nation into a state of anarchy. UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal is now the newly elected prime minister, which is unfathomable to any proud Nepali,
especially in the light that he is accused of being propped by a foreign power.
What is even more
unpalatable is the fact
that he was defeated in two electoral districts in the
past election, and hence had to take a back door
into the current assembly. Such a scenario was
unforeseen, and the Maoist leaders, Prachanda among them, probably must be
regretting their own action that brought him into the constituent assembly.
Not everything legal is ethical. That is why even
if this move to form our next government under Madhav Kumar Nepal seems legal;
it stinks to the core
from ethical perspective. But when has ethical
consideration ever entered into Nepali politics?
The current development is merely a continuation
of traditional disregard
political leaders and parties have shown towards the Nepali people. This kind of situation is untenable.
If and when the new constitution is written and comes into effect, one thing we have to assure is that this scenario never repeats.
We have to write in the constitution a provision that no unelected representative ever dons the executive mantle under the guise of parliamentary majority. Since we cannot trust
the political parties and leadership to work in the best interest of the people and the nation, we can, at least, legislate to minimize the harm they do to us.
Given the constant bickering of the political parties for plum posts and powerful positions, and the mathematical games they indulge in, we must take that power away from them into the hands of people
in the form of direct nationwide election of the chief executive, preferably the prime minister.
Having a popularly elected prime minister will take much of the current impasse and behind the scene manipulation out of the hands of politicians and vested interests outside the borders. If a true republican democratic system is to be instituted, this should be the beginning point. A popularly elected chief should form his cabinet from technocrats and capable figures outside the parliament. Should she or he delve into the parliamentary body for the selection of the cabinet, then the appointee must resign from the parliament.
Such an election to install a popularly elected prime minister needs a majority to win, which is unlikely to be achieved in the first round. A playoff election between the top two vote getters will determine the winner.
Having such a popularly elected chief executive would egate the horse trading between the parties. Of course, the executive must be independent but not free of checks and balances.
We witnessed with dismay the politics of musical chair immediately following the restoration of multi-party democratic system for a full decade. On average, no government lasted its full term in office. It was not only shameful, but a travesty of democracy itself. Lack of regard for the welfare of the nation topped by personal
ambition resulted in power politics that generated cynicism in the mass. It created an atmosphere for the king to intervene to restore political stability in the nation.
The people accepted the coup, which is a warning that such a situation can easily be replicated. Such a scenario may come from within or elsewhere.The yearning for peace and stability was so desired that the people elected the Maoists as the largest party in the constitutional assembly. The same desire has been trifled and mocked by the activities of YCL, Youth Force, and numerous groups carrying ethnic and tribal identities.
The desire for "New Nepal" was not a wish for a perpetually blocked highway, insecurity and old ways of revolving governments. Since the political parties cannot be entrusted to shape up, we must make sure we take away the cookies they are incessantly fighting over. Hence, a popularly elected executive is the
need of this nation based on its historical reality.