Nepali Times


Editorial
Red and blue



KIRAN PANDAY

The party's over, the parties had better get down to business. The leaders of the NC, UML and the Maoists probably needed that Dasain-Tihar break to clear their heads of political claustrophobia and think afresh about how to break the political deadlock that is hindering progress in the peace process. But don't bet on it.

Let's recap: the special session of the interim legislature passed two directives to the government - on a republic and proportional representation. That should have ended the debate, but ended up actually intensifying it.

On the face of it, it should be fairly easy to resolve this stalemate. It is a matter of conjecture what proportion of the population wants to get rid of the monarchy once and for all, since we haven't done a poll lately. But among the seven parties there is consensus on a republic. The only question is when to declare it. The NC wants the constituent assembly to decide and the Maoists say they want it right now. Although it is debateable how much both mean what they say.

On electoral procedures, the debate is between either 100 per cent proportional representation or 50 per cent. That shouldn't be such a big deal. How about agreeing on 75 per cent?

They say you can wake up someone who is asleep, but you can't wake up someone who is pretending to sleep. A compromise is possible only if both sides want to end the deadlock. If the strategy is to perpetuate the impasse in order to delay or foil elections, the seven parties can negotiate all they want but there will never be a solution.

After all, if it is so easy to agree, we can only conclude that these two conditions are just excuses because the Maoists have decided that elections now would erode their power. And they are willing to sacrifice the peace process to safeguard the one-third membership of the house that they won by waging war.

The exchange of proposals between the Maoists and UML has given some the idea that left-front unity is the way forward. The pressure should be to keep the seven-party unity so that constituent assembly elections can be held at the earliest possible time so the country can experience closure.

Any kind of unnecessary political polarisation must be seen as a deliberate tactic to delay elections.

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


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