Nepali Times
Four legs good

Any democratic nation state is supposed to have three legs: the executive, the judiciary and the legislative. To this some have added a fourth leg, the media, although it looks suspiciously like a self-important media has included itself.

For the chair to be stable, all four legs have to be strong. One wobbly leg makes all the others rickety as well, and the chair itself becomes unbalanced. In Nepal, the chair of state has always been unhinged, be it during the feudal period, the Panchayat era, the post-1990 decade of democracy, and the current precarious transition.

But after 27 May it has become even more unstable. We don't just not have a constitution, the executive is stop-gap, there is no legislature, the Supreme Court has been rattled by the unresolved assassination of a justice and soon a dozen vacant justice posts, and in the media sector oligarchs are snapping up newspapers. No wonder, there is a sense of foreboding and aimless drift.

To make things worse, constitutional bodies are also soon going to be headless as incumbents retire. The acting chief election commissioner is due to step down on the very month there are supposed to be CA elections in November, and the Public Service Commission will also soon have no chief. The anti-corruption watchdog, the CIAA, has been without a head since 2007.

If all this wasn't bad enough, there is a huge crisis looming in the civil service as a dozen senior secretaries face mandatory retirement later this year. Leaving aside the absurdity of retiring off bureaucrats who have amassed a wealth of experience and maturity and are in the prime of their career, there is also the issue of the impact such a mass exit will have on the civil service which has been holding things together during this prolonged period of political instability.

Among the 12 retirees, only one gets to stay on if selected to be chief secretary. Fortunately, the candidates said to be most likely to get the top job not just have political connections, but are both competent. The names of Irrigation Secretary Brinda Hada and Industry Secretary Umakant Jha are being floated as likely candidates for the chief secretary's post. Since all 12 have equal seniority, it seems like the appointment will boil down to political give-and-take.

All this is reason enough for concern because the current deadlock in the political arena has affected the budget. Prime Minister Bhattarai wants a full-fledged budget of about Rs 430 billion, so he can kick-start development and get the economy going. The NC and UML smell a rat, and suspect he wants to influence elections by allocating pork-barrel funds. A one-third expenditure plan of the actual budget last fiscal year will take care of government salaries and essential development projects. The private sector is understandably worried that budgetary uncertainties will hit investment.

To be sure, nowhere does a caretaker government in the absence of a parliament have the right to announce a full budget by ordinance. It will have to pass a budget that just meets regular expenditures until elections are held, and that is probably what will happen. But for that the civil service has to be efficient and experienced.

The budget, constitutional and civil appointments are all tied to political negotiations over a successor to the Bhattarai government and how to divide up the cabinet. The prime minister seems to be hung up on hanging on, and the NC will have to come up with something better than just to say "It's our turn". In fact, the NC can't even agree on its own prime ministerial candidate.

However desirable an all-party government may be, the reality is that the parties are hopelessly split among and within themselves. Prime Minister Bhattarai has to weigh whether stepping down will clear this log jam, pave the way for elections, and restore a stable state.

Read also:
Rain check

On a tight budget, RUBEENA MAHATO
Budgetary uncertainties and mass retirement of secretaries will set back governance

Show me the money, PAAVAN MATHEMA
And again, political differences are forcing us to settle for a partial budget

1. Sanjay Thapa
Baburam has the opportunity to arrest all the oppostion to him. he should, for they are traitors that have let us down over and over again. Baburam, if you guts and brain, do not resign. Use your power to move on ahead. If India is backing you, then you have no worries and no fear. BRB - you can be the next Junga Bahadur Rana if you have the steel balls. As long as peole have basic needs, they will back you. BRB, this a golden opportunity of a life time for you, I hope you can use it to your and Nepal's advantage. Jai Nepal.    

2. who cares
1. Sanjay Thapa

i totally agree.

but my angle is different.

i want all the policymakers, nepalese to realize that to protect nepali society from evil dictators, we should disappear those who attempt coup into some dark 5/10ft cell.

our politicians and public simply dont get it. they always look for peace with those evil killers. 

if we only play defensive, one of those strikes will definitely pass the keeper. 

i am cent percent sure that this agent bhatterai has that dark soul needed to be the evil dictator but the problem seems to be his guts. 

3. K. K. Sharma

Condition for the capture of the State has prevailed. And as all State institutions are in doldrum, the State Capture is complete, only BRB baje does not seem to realize it.

 If he can secure the blessing of Delhi, he will be PM for life......, Jaya Shree Tien PM, BRB baje........ !!!!!

4. Nirmal
Better the devil --Bhattarai baje-- you know than the devil you don't know --Ram Chandra baje, Sushil baje, Jhalnath baje, Kp baje or Makune baje or Yadav baje that may come afterward--.
That means by now it is palpable that the entire institutional design that's been elaborated after 1990 and 2006 has been the major blow for the stability of Nepal. It's not the question about the transition to democracy, what is most pity is that we've never been matured during the era of democracy as a nation-state rather as a country completely isolated from the world's reality and functioning democracy,  I'm speaking about those institutions that help build a country. Starting from the interim constitution which now seems a complete joke in absence of showing the ruling class a certain path, the institution of presidency which seems a holy temple of Nepal where people gather around to complain or wish something for them, the CA assembly as ARYAGHAT, the political parties which are rather known for its oversize, inefficiency, institutional disloyalty, and deplorable behaviour before the citizenry.  Conclusion: to expect the least worst between lots of worst is to welcome another worst.

5. Barbarian
Nepal's politicians and its intellectual class have done irreparable damage to the country and you should expect this crisis to continue for at least another 2-3 years. A decade (6/7 already gone +3) is a sufficient time for people to adjust to new realities. 

You should also not expect much improvement afterwards either. Everybody in this country would have to submit to this very powerful class and make peace with what they get, whatever crumbs are thrown at them.

The evidence of this comes from the Arab situation, where Pan-Arab Nationalists, socialists and secularists imposed progress on their nations through military dictatorship, and only after 4-5 decades people have gathered courage to say that they don't agree.

Fact is, even after the current wave of euphoria dies, miserable will remain miserable, whilst the powerful wear new masks to gain power and wealth.

6. Sunita Regmi

I think its all a big B - shit, you know ! The political elite is getting away with murder each day, ( murder of Nepal and Nepali people), and NO ONE dares to do anything ! These few not so good men, from all political parties, are behaving like Mafia Bosses that are untouchable. What a disgraceful situation for Nepali to bear each day. The politics has detroyed the country and thus politicians must pay, even with blood, if the price is right. The corrupt politcians must be jailed for life. That is true justice. How will Nepal justify the death and sacrifice of the people who died for democracy and the Revolution, if we have only repalced one Gyanedra by ten other worst Gyanendras. Is this a sick joke or WHAT. Two enetities, the Media and the Civil Society that could make a difference have alas become parasites of the political elite and are useless to bring about any positive change. How long will this gang of thieves continue to loot, are Nepalis doomed to live in poverty without any pursuit for peace, justice and happiness. Is there no honour any more in being a Nepali. If this is the fruit of democracy, then Glory to Gyanendra and Long live Gyanendra, for he was much better compared to what we have now. And don't gives any BS about time to devlop simply because for your freaking information, TIME is one thing we do not have. The partisan fighting must be destroyed, if only the Nepalis people would wake up, we could achieve this. Curse on all the leaders that have taken Nepal down the path of a gutter. I hope they all go to hell.        

7. Krishna S.
We have tried and tested all the governing system known to mankind. From Authoritarian to Socialist to Democratic to Communism. Yet nothing seems to work! Everytime there is a change in system, there is a short lived euphoria, after which there are a lot of frustrations, blaming this and that, before moving on to the next revolution.
We can continue this till we get old, but nothing will change.
We have to UNDERSTAND our Geo-Political-Economical Reality. No matter which system/rulers have been at the helm, they have all stuck to the status qua with it's "yam btwn two boulders" policy. We have to get much smarter than that, and devise a policy that is ECONOMICALLY beneficial to all Nepalis.
Otherwise, it will be the same musical chair over and over again till we get old and die. Ten years from now there will be the exact same discussions on these pages. Anybody wanna Bet?

8. 7
I like this written piece. Unbiased, factual and away from personal justifications. Exactly what journalism should be.

9. Dilip Thapa
What difference does it make ! Nothing ! Kathmandu valley reeks of corruption at the highest levels and does any one do anything. What happend to the corrupted cops from Sudan Scam. Nothing. If that is not disgusting what is. The  SC justice was shot ! Was anyone arrested for that ! No.  If that does not disgust you, what  will. The CA was disolved. If that is not disgusting, what is. Nepal is a cursed Nation and so are the people of Nepal. No honest man will thrive in Nepal. Unless............................  

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)