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Nepal: Parties seek royal promulgations from Ceremonial President

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(Article changed on January 17, 2013 at 03:21)

(Article changed on January 17, 2013 at 03:07)

Often over-pressurized by the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML), the Nepali  Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal--Maoist (CPN--M) to sack the Baburam-led government without hesitation, President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, constitutionally ceremonial but psychologically eager to use executive power, has on 15 January 2013 called the major leaders of the leading parties to his residence for more consultations  regarding the formation of the next government under so-called a consensus format.

Since his own future is uncertain should he sack the government, the only remaining state-representing tool following the dissolution of the elected Constituent Assembly (CA) as defined by a verdict of Nepal's Supreme Court, the President has hesitated to resort to a dictatorial method frequently suggested by the parties other than those in power.  Those in power--namely, Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (UCPNM) and the coalition of Madhesi factions--blindly believe that they are evergreen rulers favored by celestial compositions in the Universe. The price hikes ranging from 100 percent to 1,000 percent in the Nepali markets have created life-crises for the majority of the working class people. But the so-called revolutionaries, who have not appeared very different from the previous versions of leftist rulers in Nepal, have never bothered to think over people's plight. They seem sound asleep, not producing any noise while in power. 

The President has time and again told the major parties to forge a national consensus for a government, without seriously addressing the vital concerns of the peace process--the ingredients of the proposed new constitution.  Contrarily, the President has repeatedly called leaders to his residence and ordered them to come up with an idea for a new government. This annoying repetition in the name of national consensus has further marginalized the Nepalis as regards the fruits of change process that began following the de facto end of the decade-long armed insurgency in the country.

The Nepalis prefer to see stable peace through a new republican constitution that guarantees their human rights in the form of applicable inclusive democracy. However, no parties have ever concentrated on the change agenda; instead, they have demonstrated their full devotion to making or toppling the government--an activity that has annoyed the people.

Neither the Maoists--now in two splits--nor the NC and the UML have analyzed the situation after they go for a new election without signing an agreement to preserve the previously approved draft and the declaration of republic. Since the previous CA, along with the Legislative-Parliament, has been dissolved without declaring a new constitution in which the republic and the concept of federalism could be institutionalized, it would not be very wise to head towards a new and vaguely defined election without respecting the dignity and spirit of the people's struggles that led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord in November 2006.

It is beyond a concrete piece of evidence for constant partisan tussles for a new government without any deliberations on what would happen to the worked-out substances while in the CA before its dissolution. Completely ignoring the peace process agenda with indulgence in power-gamble will cause wide-ranging speculations among the people with differing political, socio-economic and religious-cultural settings.

Parties have to become active, not the ceremonial president. The parties that pressurize the ceremonial President to take an executive decision as soon as possible do not appear to have internalized the basic culture of democracy yet. There is a fundamental difference between chanting "democracy' and practicing it. Nepali parties must painfully exercise practicing democracy. There is no point having a constitutionally defined ceremonial president as the head of the state if the parties tend to depend on royal promulgations even under the republican structure.

As far as the executive instinct of the ceremonial president is concerned, the Nepalis had better adopt the active presidential governing system instead of the co-called ceremonial presidential pattern. 

 

Mass Communication and Journalism Lecturer, Kathmandu

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