The reason there is no deal is that no one really wants a deal. This elastic transition benefits everyone: the Baburam Bhattarai-led Maoist-Madhesi coalition is perfectly happy to extend its tenure so it can self-enrich itself on a grand scale from state coffers, rigor mortis seems to have set in on the Nepali Congress and UML which have become parties singularly lacking in new ideas, Pushpa Kamal Dahal is terrified of facing the electorate which is why he wants a CA reincarnation by hook or by crook, the rump Maoists also want a stab at prime ministership, but don't really care how they get there, and the Madhesi parties are comfortable being sought-after kingmakers.
Dahal is flogging a dead horse when he tirelessly pursues his demand to resurrect the Constituent Assembly. The reason he is obsessed with this option is because he can gain some momentum on his real goal of being an executive president by exploiting identity politics, sidelining his party rival Bhattarai, and keeping elections off the agenda. Few within his party trust Dahal anymore, but the wily Chairman has found strange bedfellows in NC politicians Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Poudel to back his resurrection plan. The irony of it all is that Deuba and Poudel have no love lost between them, but they have fallen for Dahal's argument that he will scratch their backs if they scratch his.
Besides the technical, legal, and even ethical issues over CA revival, the most important argument against it is that we all know what will happen next: once the CA is revived it can be made to extend its mandate, perpetuate itself, while five-six men sit in a dark corner and haggle endlessly, and futilely, over power.
Which is why there is really no better alternative now than to go for fresh national and local elections to unlock the deadlock, and kick-start development. The NC and UML, plagued by internal rifts haven't been able to come up with any new ideas and keep repeating ad nauseum their mantra of launching a street agitation if the prime minister doesn't step down. They're bluffing because even the royalist party can pull more genuine supporters on the streets than their rented crowds. Besides, why should the Nepali people be called upon repeatedly to descend to the streets to bring down leaders when that should be done legitimately through elections?
For elections we will need a government of national unity just so that there is no incumbent advantage, and it is a level playing field. All the parties pay lip service to a consensus government, and what is holding things up is the chicken-or-egg conundrum: the prime minister says he won't step down until the opposition comes up with a candidate, and the opposition wants Bhattarai to step down first. And now they are playing politics again, and using the budget ordinance as a bargaining chip. Even Bhattarai's international supporters now feel he should step down to pave the way forward.
If all else fails, President Ram Baran Yadav will have to act. Like the king in chess, the President's moves are restricted, but he can (and is allowed to) play a pivotal role to remove obstacles during times of prolonged national paralysis like this. So far, President Yadav has played his cards cautiously. He may now have to threaten the party leaders that if they can't come up with a consensus government, he will have to declare one.
Like Selina Meyer in the sitcom, Veep, the Prime Minister may have to repeatedly ask his secretary in Baluwatar: "Did the President call?"
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