In his first address to the nation on Sunday, President Dr Ram Baran Yadav conveyed a unifying message by stressing that Nepal has presented to the world a unique symbol of unity in diversity, and that we are Nepalis first and then other things, whether we live in the Himalayas, the mountains and the Tarai-Madhes. On this unity stands racial and regional good will, which is necessary for building a new Nepal, Yadav said. Before us lies the challenging task of writing the constitution within two years, the successful completion of which requires the political parties and all Nepalis to work in unison. Always an independent country, Nepal has remained a beautiful garden of all castes, ethnicities, classes and communities, the President said, noting that the Nepalis have always become united whenever it has come to defending the country’s sovereignty and integrity. He also pledged to play a ‘helpful and coordinating role’ under the Interim Constitution in the task of making a new constitution.

The President’s sentiment has been generally well received, including his belief that the forthcoming government will bring out policy and programme by ‘enlisting the cooperation of all for the benefit of all’. But the public had also expected the President to say something concrete regarding government formation. The public is confused how long it will take for the new Prime Minister to take office. This prolonged uncertainty is not good for the country, for the people, nor will it do credit to the democratic process, which has, in fact, been seriously harmed by a situation in which the country has not got a new Prime Minister even more than three and a half months after the election of the parliament (Constituent Assembly) — a phenomenon rare or non-existent in any functioning democracy. Who heads the government is a matter secondary to the imperative need for government formation.

The delay must now be ended. The President is still in consultation with experts and politicians about the next government. But this process appears to be getting unnecessarily long - a couple of days should be enough to decide what to do - the Interim Constitution provides for a government based on consensus or majority. Admittedly, the provisions are vague or silent in certain points. That is why people seem to disagree over whether the President should issue an invitation for government formation. Some say it is for the CA members themselves to take the initiative, and the role of the President is limited to administering the oath of office to the new Prime Minister, whereas others are in favour of an invitation. If

the former is the case, a question may arise why the President is continuing his consultation. However, even if it is not specified in the Constitution, it will

be highly advisable, as is the universal practice and also logical, for the President to make an invitation. After all, it is the CA that will decide. But, in the

name of evolving a consensus, the process of government formation must not go on endlessly, as indecision would constitute a mockery of democracy

and of the people’s mandate, and it would also delay constitution-making.