Nepal has got new President, and election to Vice President will be held on March 17. With this, the country will complete the second cycle of elections under the new constitution. Unlike in the past, the presidential poll this time generated oodles of interests and political gambits. Some parties were involved in unhealthy exercises and blame games ahead of the poll. However, the lawmakers of federal and provincial parliaments elected veteran Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel to the head of the state, brushing aside all nasty moves and counter-moves.
Paudel is well-known for mild and compromising approach to the inter- and intra-party matters as well as national issues. His personality and nature match the position of high office. In the democratic countries, the post of a president is ceremonial and prestigious as in India and Pakistan. But in France and the United States of America, the president wields executive powers. The US president is the commander-in-chief of army and navy, and has a bigger say in the external affairs, but he faces challenges from Congress and Senate over the domestic matters, impelling him sometimes to resort to his veto powers to get vital Bills endorsed from the two Houses of Congress.
Periodic elections always enhance the international image and democratic profile of any nation. Despite having small size of geography, economy and population, Nepal’s democratic credentials are not less than that of India, France and the USA. The President, according to the constitution, has been entrusted with the cardinal tasks of promoting national unity and protecting the national charter.
Nepalis have nurtured high expectations from the newly-elected president. First, he must not commit the mistakes that his predecessor did knowingly or unknowingly. Secondly, as the head of sovereign state, he should demonstrate confidence and poise while meeting and talking with his foreign counterparts. Third, he should discharge his duty as a unifying figure among various ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural communities that Nepal boasts of. He is expected to reach out to them to stick them together so that mutual harmony and tolerance are fostered to build a modern and prosperous Nepal.
The country has embraced presidential system in the place of monarchical one which was abolished by the Constituent Assembly in 2008. But, a small section of people and some parties are stoking the religious sentiments in an open attempt to revive monarchy. They are selling the myth of Ram Rajya. They are exercising their right to express their views under the federal republic. But their activities are against the spirit of the present constitution.
If their tantrums and anarchist activities are not checked in time, they will be encouraged to intensify their divisive campaign that will only invite instability and threat to the present system. Religious extremism is bad for society, no matter which religious groups are indulged in such acts, which will hurt broader national interest and strength. Nepalis have been living in mutual harmony for centuries and religious zealots have no place in the nation. Therefore, the new President should use his good office to bring all forces within the constitutional ambit together, thereby bolstering unity, peace and reconciliation in the country.