Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
"Illogical deadlock"

Do you agree that the king's October Fourth move was unconstitutional?

The present deadlock is illogical. It was an unconstitutional move-there are constitutional alternatives to what he did. If the prime minister's recommendation was improper, the king could have sent it back to the cabinet for reconsideration. Or he could have directed the prime minister towards an election, after all both the Election Commission and the security forces had declared their preparedness. The king's action was against all constitutional options on offer.

So is the constitution still relevant?

The king's move has no provision under the constitution. What we have now is a government put in place in direct contravention of the constitution. In this regard, I would have to admit the constitution is no longer active in the sense we intended. Modern world history shows that the parliament can be reinstated. In our case, the body mandated by the people for a five-year period was faultily dissolved. Only article 127 is active, in it is a proviso that allows for the reinstatement of the parliament.

Is there a way out, then?

There is no way out other than reinstating parliament. This will automatically revive all other constitutional processes. The parliament can then decide whether it wants to form a single party government and hold talks with the Maoists. The present situation arose because of the Maoist insurgency, undemocratic competition among the political parties, and the ambition of the monarch. We failed to set a system and have experimented between a democracy and guided democracy since1950. The political parties misused power, and the king could not establish himself as a constitutional entity. It is rather ironical that the monarch always chose extra-constitutional paths whenever such a situation presented itself.

At present, which is the most powerful of the three factions?

The king has the army behind him, the government has only the right to rule. Therefore, I would suggest neutralisation of the army. Neither the monarch nor the political parties should be allowed to interfere. The government should be allowed to take decisions regarding the army through due process only for national emergencies like foreign aggression, extraordinary external situations and for the welfare of the general public. The experiences of other countries suggest this will bring political stability.

What were the major mistakes in the past 12 years?

The political parties got themselves embroiled in undemocratic competition, they horse-traded and amassed wealth, setting the stage for the king to step in with his unconstitutional solution. The palace is a guardian of this country-it has the right to take precautions against wrong-doings. But it cashed in on the confusion created by unhealthy politics. The mishandling resulted in the palace usurping even the prerogative of the government to assign political appointments.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)