Nepali Times
By The Way
Coming and going



Everybody laments the current political deadlock. But the real reason why there is a deadlock is even more lamentable: it is because by seeking government leadership, each party wants to manipulate the electoral process for its advantage. What could be a bigger travesty for democracy in Nepal?

Once again Nepal's political parties have shown that they are simply incapable of managing their affairs. Karan Singh's visit last week was not overt meddling, but it just means that if your house is on fire and you don't make any move to put it out, your neighbours will be worried. Singh's visit apparently didn't go down well with the PMO and the Foreign Ministry even though it was a direct message from New Delhi that India wants Nepal to start putting out the blaze.

But the parties have done little to show that they are capable of fire-fighting. Loud op-eds and rabble-rousing commentaries in the media blame Baburam Bhattarai or President Yadav for the current political mess. But the pundits miss the point. The solution to the stalemate is not in the hands of the prime minister or the president, it is with Sushil Koirala, Jhala Nath Khanal, and Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Two probable solutions would be to ensure a Maoist or Madhesi Morcha-led unity government with the NC and UML getting portfolios of their choice. Second is an NC-led unity government with power sharing with the Maoists and Madhesis. While the first option remains unconditionally open for the opposition, for the ruling parties to hand over the leadership to the NC, it is reasonable that they would want an assurance that the party which had until two months ago been against CA elections, is committed to holding polls. On both instances, the ball seems to be in the opposition's court.

Appointing Sushil Koirala as its candidate, the NC has demonstrated that it prefers leading the government. Now, it has to explain to the people what it intends to do once in power. The party has so far maintained that it would talk about its agenda only after being handed leadership, which is odd coming from a party that claims to be the most democratic among the lot.

On Wednesday, Pushpa Kamal Dahal put forth a condition of agreeing on the date of holding CA elections in April before considering the NC's leadership. This is an indication that the Maoists and Madhesis have enough incentives to go for the polls. After running the government for over a year, the Maoists feel they have done enough to woo the voters, but are nervous about the split within their party. As long as they have the Madhesis with them, the Maoists are willing to face polls.

Since the day the CA was formed, the peace process and constitution drafting were held hostage to government formation. Six months after its dissolution, things have not changed. By seeking leadership of an electoral government, each party wants to ensure results in its favour so that it can effectively dictate the peace process and constitution drafting to suit its own ends.

The extended deadline given by the president to forge agreement on the government formation will expire on Friday. It will be nothing less than a miracle if the parties meet that deadline. The parties agreed on consensual politics in the interim constitution, but have been unable to develop a culture of give and take. The fear of losing too much has made them unwilling to compromise on the stakes. Unless they let go of that fear, deadlines will just keep on coming and going.

Read also:
Making a big deal

1. B
Ya.. The neighbors start the fire and worry about the consequences.  When you control both sides of the conflict,  you control the result. 

2. my two cents
When it comes to any democratic structure it is people who puts forward their concerns before the ruling class and it is the political class who should get ready to fulfill them. If we -democrats- do care about this fact then it is our topmost duty to hold the elections at the earliest possible, no matter If there arises the need to bypass the main stakeholders of so called peace process. It is crystal-clear that none of the party in Nepal would like them to happen unless they find it suitable for their own interests and it's been evident that the political parties have failed even to manage their own interests over the national interests time and again, creating a dead-end situation.

You're wrong when you said that the President can't do anything. In my opinion it is only the institution of Presidency an ideal entity to clear the hurdles and allow elections to happen. How? The deadline given by him has brought no positive change so now his efforts should be focused on forming a technical govt for a short period and with the sole mission to conclude the elections. Most of our neighbours have a long tradition of such govts and they were able to get out of the mess that had been created because of the inefficacy of the political class. If the main Nepali political parties can not hold the periodic elections due to their conflicting interests then atleast they should be kind enough to let the President delegate this task to an efficient group of persons. The challenge created after the initiatve taken by the President only demands this exceptional step. The people are watching how the President will be successful to reconcile the conflicting interests of the parties and the urgency to hold the elections which are equally impossible given the current legal frame of the country. This time --unlike during the regime of King Gyanendra-- people would not heed to the NC, UML or the Maoists' call to confrontation against the President's effort. No need to say where people will stand and how they will punish If these parties declare war against the elections. Only ELECTIONS will best serve the national interests and represent the plurality of nepali society. Perhaps an electoral govt sans political parties is not what many political pundits would love to see but at least these pundits --who cannot estimate this dead-end situation with their knowledge-- should try their level best to not fall completely into this undemocratic trap.

3. Suresh Panta

We now live in the information age ! The so called gang leaders of the so called Big 4 are a thing of the past ! Old men with old ideas ! They are out of touch with modern day realities, and the power of 24 hour news cycle and social media like F B and Twitter ! These old corrupted men are afraid of the Polls for they will discarded and swept away.  Millions of Nepalis today use cell phones and computers. Its has become easy to organize. We Nepalis only talk too much, we are not known for hard work especially the fat and pot bellied Netas that consume gourmet meals and sleep in silken beds. In recent history, past PM from our two close neighbors were shot and killed by their own  supporters, thus paying the price for corruption and high handness . If the slapping of Dahal and Khanal is  an indicator, then the high and mighty Netas better look out, be on guard, the writing is on the wall. Leaders have abused Nepali democracy and they must pay, even with blood, for one day the people will rise and take the revenge that is long overdue. Nepal cannot allow a gang of criminals to hold hostage the 28 million Nepalis. ,        

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)