Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
What unity?


Delay in forming the cabinet due to squabbling within the seven parties has made a mockery of the democratic aspirations of the people's movement. After bearing the atrocities of 14 months of the king's autocratic rule, the people expected their leaders to be united but were let down. No one has been willing to sacrifice positions and show generosity. The CPN-UML, currently the largest party in parliament after the division of the Nepali Congress, surprised everyone with its behaviour. Had Maoist leaders and others from the seven-party alliance not interfered, bickering within the CPN-UML have continued. In the reinstated parliament, leaders seem to be in a fix about how to take political decisions: whether to abide by the constitution or respect the demands of the people's movement. Parliament itself was created by the 1990 constitution and owes all its powers to the same. Thus there is compulsion to follow its rules at the same time that pressure is being applied by the movement. During the king's rule, decisions would sometimes be based on the spirit of the constitution and at other times on the sole whims of the king. Now the people have taken the place of the king, so the parties are compelled to work according to their desires as well as in line with the constitution. While this confusion might be understandable, fighting among the leaders at this early stage is deplorable. From the beginning they were unable to come together. Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala did not really want to become the prime minister, he had hoped the CPN-UML's Madhab Kumar Nepal or some other leader would take the job. But the CPN-UML was the only party that agreed to this alternative. As a result, Nepal, who wanted to become prime minister, had to propose Koirala's name for the post. As prime minister, Koirala will have to bear responsibility for the government so it was natural that he want edto keep the prime posts for the NC. But the CPN-UML disagreed and demanded the ministries of Home, Communications, Foreign Relations, Local Development, Water Resources and Finance. Their reasoning was,"We are the largest party in parliament and most of the movement's martyrs were from our party." When the Maoists got wind of this they argued that their party had an equal hand in the movement and suggested that if the UML really cared for the people they must be able to work from outside the government. On Monday, the UML informed the NC leadership that it would support it but from outside the government. NC leaders took this as a threat and urged the UML to join the government under any circumstances. The UML was unable to ignore the call and eventually agreed.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)