Institutionalizing Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Institutionalizing Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Siddhi B Ranjitkar
November 5, 2012
The spokesman for the UCPN-Maoist started off speaking in public in a challenging tone, and indicated his party and the partners in the governance were ready to confront both the head of state and the opposition if the head of state were to go against the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007, and were not to issue the presidential ordinance authorizing the government to use the budget as the partial budget was coming to an end in the mid-November. Leaders of the opposition coalition of the NC and the CPN-UML had been always using the confrontational language in public demanding the current government to quit rather than joining it for power sharing. The opposition coalition leaders had been talking about a consensus government ostensibly a power-sharing government but actually wanting to have the absolute power rather than sharing the power with all the political parties. No matter, what the political leaders do in their bid for power they should give the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal a chance to survive, establish the federal democratic system of governance, and institutionalize the achievements made by the people in the people’s movement in 2006, and the elections in 2008.
If we were to take a look at the public speeches of the opposition leaders such as President of the NC Sushil Koirala, his vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel, Chairman of the CPN-UML Jhalanath Khanal, Senior Leader Madhav Nepal of the CPN-UML, and other junior leaders of both the NC and the CPN-UML, we would find that their speeches said nothing but the demands for the ruling coalition of the UCPN-Maoist and the UDMF to quit the office. They always threatened to launch stormy street protests to remove the ruling parties from power. The opposition leaders were not ashamed of talking such illogical and even illegal things such as removing the duly elected current government from the street protests.
Street protests were for removing the despotic regime when the political parties had no constitutional means to remove such a regime. In such a case, the people were the instrumental in making the street protests successful even going against the rule of law and the constitution. The current political situation was not of this kind. The opposition has the constitutional means to replace the current government with a new one, and take the power. They have even a chance of joining the government and enjoying the power being the part of the ruling coalition. If they did not want to join the ruling coalition they could go to polls for electing a new CA, and take the people’s mandate for governing.
However, the opposition leaders had been putting tremendous pressure on the head of state to fire the current legally established government, and then turn over the power to them. The head of state had not heeded the pressure of the opposition to fire the current government so far. The Head of State President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav had repeatedly said that he would stay within the boundaries of the Interim Constitution of Nepal of 2007. Fortunately, the head of state had been sticking to his words ignoring the tremendous pressure he had been facing from his former colleagues. Hopefully, the head of state would not crossed the constitutional boundaries and bring the political storm in the country.
The opposition leaders also had been putting pressure on the head of state not to issue presidential ordinance authorizing the government to use the budget for the FY 2012 even though the government was running out of money to pay the state employees causing hurdles to the service delivery. In this case, the head of state was heeding the pressure of the opposition, and repeatedly telling the prime minister to build a consensus on the budget before the head of state could issue a presidential ordinance.
How the prime minister could build a consensus on the budget for the FY 2012 when the opposition leaders did not want to talk to the prime minister about anything except for forcing him out of the office. That was really serious for the country and for the people. That was blatant disregard for the welfare of the nation and the people. The opposition leaders should not hold the budget hostage for the ransom of the resignation of the prime minister. At least for keeping the service delivery on, the opposition leaders needed to give a green signal to the Head of State President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to accept the budget the government would be presenting to him.
If the Head of State President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav were to be a referee in the political game even though the politicians had been playing unscrupulously, he needed to disregard the opposition pressure and issue a presidential ordinance authorizing the government to use the budget for the FY 2012 saving the country from falling in the dark abyss of social, economical and political uncertainties. In the absence of the budget, securities and law enforcement officials would stop working, administrative service would be no more available, and the country would fall in chaos. No doubt, the opposition politicians wanted to bring such a situation in the country in the hope of toppling the government, but the head of state surely needed to be a referee and stop the foul players from the game. The head of state could do so just issuing whatever ordinances are required to run the country smoothly and hold the elections to a new CA.
Instead of giving in to the pressure of the opposition political leaders, the Head of State President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav needed to say to the opposition either to join the current government for sharing the power or go to the people for the elections to a new CA, and clearly say to them, “I am neither going to fire the current government nor to stop the budget for the FY 2012. So you guys either join the current government or go to the voters in preparation for the elections to a new CA. I am neither going to break the Interim Constitution nor to hold the budget.” This action would be the only way out of the current political standoff.
No matter, what the political leaders do in their bid for power they should give the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal a chance to survive. However, the public statements of both the ruling coalition and the opposition coalition showed that they were not caring about the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal but they were ready to confront each other to stay in power or to remove the current government and grab the power. So, the opposition was pushing the head of state to indulge in the political game its leaders had been playing unscrupulously. Understandably, the ruling coalition was not in a mood to quit the office. So, the opposition could get the power only through the head of state stepping in the politics and removing the prime minister stating the prime minister could not build a national consensus and so, “I am removing him from power, and appointing Mr X to the office of prime minister for forming a new consensus government.”
Then, surely, the current ruling coalition government would go to the opposition bench and launch street protests if we were to believe the public statements of the spokesman for the UCPN-Maoist and some leaders of the UDMF. They would certainly create a political storm whether the head of state and the government he had set up would be able to stand against it, was a big question. Then, another big question was whether the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal would stand the political storm and would go to a dictatorial system remains to be seen.
Nepalis wanted to institutionalize the achievements made by the people in the people’s movement in 2006. The people’s movement in 2006 brought down the despotic rule of the then king; the people did not want to see any such person to come to power in other words, they did not want the dictatorial system of governance any more. They did not want any more people’s movement to fight against any dictatorial system, too. Consequently, people would unlikely to support any kind of street protests. Hitting the streets and making decisions on the streets would be the most unlikely case. The most likely case was to go to the law court and settle everything constitutionally and legally.
Nepalis wanted to see their aspirations expressed in the elections held in 2008 materialized. In the elections to a CA held in 2008, Nepalese voters gave overwhelming votes to the UCPN-Maoist and UDMF to go along and set up the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and institutionalize it promulgating a new constitution. The first session of the CA removed the king from the palace and declared Nepal a republic. Then, the Madhesis launched another movement for making Nepal the Federal Democratic Republic. However, the political immaturity of some politicians, the UDMF leaders joined the NC and the CPN-UML to elect the candidate of the NC to the office of the president and the candidate of the UDMF to the office of the vice-president setting the political tone of confusion. Only after the UCPN-Maoist and UDMF formed a coalition to form the current government, the aspirations of the voters came true. The opposition leaders had been indulging in any sorts of tricks to dislodge the current government and kill the voters’ aspirations for setting up a Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Not following the voters’ aspirations, politicians had even let the man rejected by voters to be the prime minister causing great embarrassment to the voters. We hope that the head of state, ruling politicians and the opposition would follow the voters’ aspirations and institutionalize the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
We already stated that the people were unlikely to support street protests of the political parties but if the people were to find the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal was at risk then undoubtedly the people would rise up to protect and preserve it. No force of any sorts would be able to stop the Nepalis institutionalizing the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. The opposition coalition of the NC and the CPN-UML opposing the federalism simply has been prolonging the current political transformation period giving hope to the regressive forces to take Nepal back to the past system. However, these regressive forces would be well off not hoping such things to happen.