The process has come to a standstill. We couldn't bring the budget or the constitution on time. And now we have not been able to form the government on time. We have been making this crisis worse from day to day. The entire process of constitution writing is in crisis.
What is the reason for the CA's inability to continue with the process?
Constitution writing has never been a priority of the political parties. The process has been hampered by the differences between political parties, their internal conflicts, failure in implementing past agreements, their tussle for power, and the error of starting to write the constitution without agreeing upon its fundamental points. Political parties have forgotten that it is an interim period. They are suffering from the belief that they can direct the entire process as they please once they get power. This has put the process in danger.
You just pointed to an erroneous start to the process. Why was this not thought of in the beginning?
We should have thought about it, but no discussions were held regarding the basic principles of the constitution. I hear of passing the final draft with a majority and then going to the public for their opinion, rather than agreeing on constitutional fundamentals. Ten of eleven preliminary drafts were passed with a majority while one draft did not get a majority. We should still move forward and maybe forge a consensus on the fundamental issues, otherwise it will be impossible to finalise the constitution with a majority decision. Consensus is ideal and it is compulsory for two-thirds of the committee to endorse the constitution. Decisions have been taken by majority so far, but it is likely to invite difficulties at the final stage. Another mistake was to put the government and the constitution in the same place. Can there be a consensus if we pass the draft by a majority government? This is the paradox of the moment.
Why hasn't there been any discussion on these issues then?
The truth is we never looked back and reviewed the process of writing the constitution. We would have corrected some things had we evaluated then. But is it the government or the big parties that should assume responsibility for taking the process forward? The big parties are the ones who should be responsible, but they tussled for power instead of writing the constitution. Why do all parties need to be in the government for an interim period? It is ridiculous to see parties fight for an interim government. If it is really important, we should have a group of experts draft the constitution to be tabled in parliament for endorsement.
What should be done to move the process forward?
Political parties should find out the reasons for its delay first. There should be a different plan of action this time. The leaders should sit together and resolve their differences. We talk about consensus but there is no mechanism to facilitate consensus in times of disagreement.