A fast approaching deadline and the Supreme Court's verdict have forced parties into making hasty agreement on major contentious issues through mutual give-and-take. The ongoing exercise is driven more by the need to meet the deadline with a workable document in hand, rather than with the aim of creating a long-term roadmap for new Nepal.
A constitution is not only a consensus based document, but a text that lays the foundation and gives direction to the country. While the leaders have finally realised that it is impossible for any party to draft a statute of its choice, they seem to have overlooked the actual purpose of the statute.
The leaders do not understand that this nation cannot sustain a jumbo parliament with 800 parliamentarians from the centre to state legislatures. Besides, the electoral model with 45 per cent proportional representation means that no single can win by a majority in the next elections. And our immature coalition culture is bound to further destabilise the nation's unstable politics by institutionalising closed door give-and-take politics.
The gentleman's agreement on the form of governance is unfortunate, because parties have agreed to divide executive powers between the president and prime minister in an effort to find a 'win-win' situation. Creating dual power centres will spark off turf war between the two executives. Similarly, by advocating for states based on ethnicity, parties have heightened the expectations of various groups who are now demanding their own provinces.
Analyst Muma Ram Khanal, like many others, predicts a difficult time ahead for the country: "When sentiments are provoked and left unaddressed or unmanaged, it gives rise to mass discontent and violence." Nepal will have to face this reality sooner or later.