Task at hand

The Constituent Assembly has completed its first task, as set out on the constitution-drafting calendar of events - the election of its vice chairman on schedule. Those next in line are drawing near.

The first priority of all the political parties should, therefore, be to ensure that all the schedules are met. The failure to meet even one could hold back all the other schedules. Sadly, the first four months after the CA election were wasted because of the failure to transfer power. That stresses the need to make up for the lost time. In this, the role of the CA chairman as the timekeeper is important, and he is expected to play his part well. But it is on the political parties represented in the CA, particularly the bigger ones, that the main force of onus rests. Suspicion of one another may well exist among the political parties because of their political rivalries, particularly between the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist. Leaders of both the parties continue to hurl accusations at each other for trying to delay the process of writing the constitution.

All of them are in the same boat now. If it meets with any mishap, none will come out unscathed. They should all lend a helping hand in moving forward the drafting process, as they have publicly pledged. The CA results may have become unexpected and indeed discomforting for some; the unpleasant memories of the presidential election may still linger; some other incidents may have sown mutual doubts. Nevertheless, these should pale into insignificance beside the paramount task of making the constitution. CA chairman Subas Chandra Nembang on Sunday urged all parties to nominate their representatives to various constitution-drafting committees by today (Dec. 9), as, according to the CA calendar, the 14 various committees have to be formed and their chairpersons elected by December 15, which is barely a week away. There is one constitutional committee, 10 subject and three procedural committees. And they need to work in close cooperation to make the main task smoother.

The promulgation of a new constitution will be the crowning glory of the peace process. However, there are several other essential tasks associated with the peace process, including the adjustment of the PLA and the return of the properties seized during the 10-year-long insurgency, and all these will have to be completed before the new constitution is ready. The sooner, the better. When it comes to the question, say, of representation of the political parties in various committees, one major factor would naturally be the relative degree of the people’s trust, as reflected during the CA election, in the parties. And a little flexibility from the sides concerned would often go a long way towards resolving thorny issues, sooner than expected. In this context, statements emanating from political leaders that have tended to provoke each other into harder public stances would not help. Certainly, threats to launch a second uprising, or to send another party into the jungle again, or dislodge it from power, would not contribute to the peace process. Any of these threats, if they materialised, would only lead the country into uncertainty and chaos. Good sense should dawn on all.