Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Polls For Political Order

Nepal’s politics has taken a new course after the dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR) on December 20. The nation is headed for mid-term elections slated for April 30 and May 10 this year. In democracy, elections are best and only viable means to resolve an emerging political crisis. Despite a long history of openness and pluralism, Nepal’s democracy is progressing in fits and starts. With the restoration of multiparty democracy in 1990, the nation embarked on a journey of modernisation and prosperity. But the grand nation-building tasks have passed through many ups and downs. When the political actors clash over the means and goals of their parties, the entire system suffers from the unintended glitches. As a result, the deadlock finds no timely outlet, giving way to the disgruntled voices resonating on the streets as we have seen right now.

The political leaders have their both success and failure stories. They have learnt to quickly choose the right track after a momentary deviation from the constitutional path. After two rounds of Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and rigorous debates, the elected body delivered the new constitution in 2015. This manifested the understanding, unity and wisdom of leadership. In 2017, the nation saw the historic three-tier polls which institutionalised the democratic federal republic. The local elections proved milestone in cementing the grassroots democracy. The people had handed a huge mandate to the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) so that it could rebuild the nation without difficulty. The solid electoral backing also enabled the ruling party to devise the long-term social and economic plans to achieve rapid growth, stability, peace and order.

However, the government could not complete its full five years term in office as it was rocked by the nasty intra-party dispute, leading to the dissolution of parliament. The other day, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli explained why he took the step to dissolve the HoR and announce new polls. PM Oli said that he was compelled to dissolve the Lower House and call for the fresh mandate to rid the nation of the ongoing constraints and challenges. According to the news report of this daily, the PM admitted that the government had failed to perform in the way it wanted due to the obstacles within the party. He said that the government was not allowed to work, nor was it allowed to publicise its achievements. Oli, also the NCP chair, accused the Prachanda-Nepal faction of indulging in power and position and not cooperating with the government.

As the PM has pointed out, the party unification process was not allowed to come to a conclusion while the party cadres were kept disoriented and confused for three years. Failure to rightly handle the internal bickering is one reason, incapacitating the government. Defending his move, Oli said that it was the PM’s prerogative to dissolve the House as per the parliamentary practice and system. He has also claimed that there was no chance of the parliament being restored. When there is political confusion and dilemma, the leaders decide to go to the people, who in turn offer solution to the crisis through the ballot. So the PM’s decision to declare the snap polls is in conformity with the tradition of parliamentary democracy. 

How do you feel after reading this news?