30 Jan-5 Feb 2015 #743

International meddling

Editorial, Nagarik, 23 January

Some foreign powers in Nepal seem to be interested in dispensing dubious advice that will only prolong this country’s political instability. It may be because they want to make sure that their interests lie in a poor and weak Nepal, or that if Nepal prospers their utility here will come to an end. International powers in Nepal seem to not want to irritate any of the political forces here, and they want none of them to be too weak. This does not help Nepal.

The very bilateral agencies that supported the elections financially because they said it would bring stability are now pressuring the state to ignore the very outcome of those elections. It is indeed a laughable conundrum that democratic countries for whom election results are sacrosanct mandate would try to pamper a political force in Nepal that openly defies the people’s verdict in an election.  If a foreign country encourages the rejection of an election mandate it violates diplomatic norms and can be said to be engaging in a conspiracy against the people. The international community may not like the outcome of an election, but if Nepal is a sovereign state they are obliged to respect the verdict. If, as the foreign friends are saying, we have to abandon democratic principles and agree on everything through consensus then the US, UK and Japan may as well not hold elections either. What if outsiders dispensed similar advice about election mandates, would they accept it?

Maybe our government doesn’t dare tell the international community that it doesn’t want their advice. If the foreigners stick to their stance of not respecting a two-thirds majority you cannot fault the government for rejecting all other options. Not respecting the people’s mandate will extend the instability in Nepal and may serve the national interest of some foreign powers, but it will not serve the Nepali people’s desire for peace, progress and stability. It doesn’t behoove the international community to go against the people’s mandate and overstep diplomatic norms to pressure the government.