Nepali Times Asian Paints
Editorial
Does public opinion matter?


Doesn\'t look like it, given the way it has been disregarded by every political force in the country. They all claim to stand for the people but have consistently dashed all hope.

The Maoists say they are fighting a 'people\'s\' war although many who supported the revolution don\'t want to have anything to do with it anymore. The king says he took over to save the people from conflict but all we have seen in the past three years is a systematic plan to dismantle what remained of democratic institutions and surviving civil liberties. The political parties haven\'t faced their electorates in six years, their mandates have expired and there is little public enthusiasm toward their call for restoration of parliament.

All three forces think that lack of support for the other two translates into support for themselves. The Maoists pose as the people\'s genuine liberators, promising to wipe the slate clean of a feudal monarchy and malfunctioning democracy. The king thinks the lack of public support for the parties means the people back his autocratic experiment. And the political parties take it for granted that most Nepalis are against February First.

What we have seen year after year in nationwide polls since 2000 is a vast and overwhelming yearning for an end to violence. If the three forces want to genuinely address the people\'s most important concern they should be making urgent moves to restart the peace process instead of clawing at each other.

Eighty percent of Nepalis surveyed have always rejected communist totalitarianism and royal authoritarianism. Extremists of the left and right will overlook this at their own peril. But the mainstream political parties haven\'t stood up convincingly for the middle ground either.

Their leaders still don\'t seem to have realised how low they have sunk in the public\'s eye. Chanting 'democracy\' alone will not win people back to the cause. Our political leadership was always much better at struggling for democracy than making it work, they now have to prove that this time it will be different.

The underground comrades for their part should read the writing on the wall: the people may still vote you to power if you give up violence. But they won\'t if you wait any longer.

We may have forgotten it in this long detour on the road to democracy but the only true reflection of the people\'s will is when we allow them to choose their representatives and make them truly sovereign.


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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