Alliances For Political Stability

 

Uttam Maharjan

 

the historic elections to the provincial and federal governments are taking place on November 26 and December 7. These elections are considered historic because they will pave the way for institutionalising the federal setup, ushering in a new mode of governance and ending the longstanding transition period. The transition period has been in effect ad nauseam since 2006, when the Maoists came to the mainstream of politics by sloughing off its belligerent mentality and adopting a democratic framework for the purpose of contributing to national development by actively participating in politics in a peaceful manner.

The local elections are over. The elections were dominated by the CPN-UML followed by the Nepali Congress. The CPN-Maoist Centre and other parties could not fare well in the elections. However, all eyes are now on the upcoming provincial and federal elections. The process of selecting right candidates for right constituencies on the part of various political parties is going on.

 

Bolt from Blue

On October 3, something like a bolt from the sky came on the political scene. The CPN-UML, the CPN-Maoist Centre and the Naya Shakti Party-Nepal announced an electoral alliance to be followed by a merger after the elections. The left alliance also urged other parties with a communist leaning to join it. The main thrust of the alliance is to secure a two-thirds majority in the elections so that it can stay in power for five years, thus maintaining political stability.

In a country where political instability has been reigning supreme for years and where governments change quickly due to the persistence of the hung parliament, the motive of the left alliance seems to be on the right track. In the current situation, no party will be able to secure a two-thirds majority. So for a party to form a government, it is inevitable for it to enlist the help of one or more other parties. Further, a practice has developed among political parties to run a government for a certain period of time, say 9 months, by executing a so-called gentlemen’s agreement.

One of the reasons for the country remaining undeveloped despite humongous investment in development projects is unstable politics. A government exits before it makes development plans but can hardly execute them. Such plans may not be owned by its successor.

It appears that forming such alliances as the one recently formed by the three communist parties is a welcome step. But the most important thing is to what extent such alliances can last. Since the advent of multi-party democracy in the country in the 1990s, the communists have split and reunited several times. A case in point is the Naya Shakti-Nepal which split from the CPN-Maoist Centre. The communist leaders, or any leaders of other parties for that matter, indulge in making breakaway parties for their parochial interests.

Moreover, a party in the ruling coalition forming an alliance with an opposition party also seems to be somewhat unnatural. It is said that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics. A political party may befriend others as long as it is to its advantage. The Maoist Centre was once a bedfellow of the UML but now is in the present government with the Nepali Congress. Now, it has allied with the UML to contest the forthcoming elections.

The left alliance has sent ripples across the country, blustering and flustering the Nepali Congress. The Nepali Congress, which was badly routed in the local elections at the hands of the UML, fears that the alliance might secure two-thirds majority in the upcoming elections and it will have to remain out of power. The alliance has really given the Nepali Congress the heebie-jeebies. That is why it is now doing homework to form a democratic alliance consisting of like-minded parties.

The country has around 200 political parties. In a small country like ours, the number is really mind-boggling. It is the need of the hour to reduce the number of such parties as most of the parties have been brought into existence in the name of multi-party democracy where everyone is free to create their party.

The country needs just two or three parties to run the government effectively. If the parties scattered throughout the country ally with either the left alliance or the democratic alliance or some other alliance, the possibility of a hung parliament will be less. And one alliance can run a government for a full term of five years, thus ending political instability and accelerating development works across the country. The country has some lofty but imperative goals to fulfill: one is graduation to the status of developing country by 2022 and the other is the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The country has to take drastic measures to fulfill these goals, which may not be possible in the present political situation.

 

Good omen

Viewed thus, formation of two or three alliances of like-minded political parties is a good omen for the country as it might redound to political stability and majority governments, thus paving the way for speeding up development activities across the country. However, it is more than necessary to maintain good governance, simplify bureaucracy and cut off the tentacles of corruption that has eaten holes in the fabric of national development and the economy. Let’s hope that the country will see only two or three political alliances from now onwards. This is what the people hanker after.     

 

 

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