Spat Over The NA Ordinance

Narayan Upadhyay

The deadlock over the formation of new government by the two communist parties that have won almost two-thirds majority in the federal parliament and in the provincial assemblies, has still continued, though it has been many weeks the results of the two-phase polls to the House of Representatives and the provincial assemblies have been made public. The delay in the formation of the left government is due mainly to the President’s unwillingness to give her seal of approval to the National Assembly (NA) ordinance. As the ordinance has been gathering dust in the President’s Office for the past few months, the Election Commission has not been able to formally declare the number of seats the parties have won in the Proportional Representation system due to its failure to find the exact number of women members to be elected by the different parties in the National Assembly.

Tussle
The delay in approving the ordinance by the President is an outcome of the ongoing spat between the two parties, the CPN-UM and the Nepali Congress over the provision in the NA ordinance. The NC is pressing the President to approve the ordinance having the provision of single transferable voting system while the UML has objected this system and is supporting the idea of electing National Assembly members through the majority of votes. The two parties have long been engaged in the tussle for long on the NA ordinance and have even started criticising each other in the public while the President, a former UML party functionary, appears to be awaiting the UML nod on the ordinance to give her approval.
Both the ruling party of the present caretaker government, the NC and the UML have taken respective positions over the ordinance, which has threatened to further delay the formation of the new government, though the Maoist Centre chair Prachanda has expressed that he is positive towards the NC-supported single transferrable voting system in the National Assembly. The Sanghiya Samajwadi Forum too has made its option clear by supporting the same provision. At present, it is the UML that has exhibited its strong objection to the provision and blocking the ordinance citing that it would favour the majority voting method to elect the NA members.
Chairman Prachanda and the Forum chairman Upendra Yadav have even warned the UML that any delay in approving the ordinance would only help the Congress lengthen its rule. The Congress, as it has made its stance clear that it would not give up power until and unless the President approves the ordinance with single transferable voting system, may give another headache to incoming government-- it will make several of higher and constitutional appointments and distribute the resources to its supporters across the nation as per its likings as it remains in power as a caretaker.
The failure in giving timely exit to the present impasse over the NA ordinance is likely to have other repercussions. The delay has apparently led to the failure of the two communist parties in forming their government at the earliest, which, in turn, has threatened the very existence of the left alliance and the much-publicized merger of the two parties. Though the top party brasses of both the UML and the Maoist Centre have stated that nobody could stop the merger of the both parties and the formation of the new government by them, some signs of discord between the two communist parties have started surfacing, which has raised questions over the merger of the two parties.
As the formation of the UML-MC government has got delayed, thanks to the pending of the NA ordinance, the “conspiracy” theory against and impediments to the merger of the both the communist parties is making the rounds. Media of all kinds are nowadays awash with the news and views that focus on the elements that have impeded or would obstruct the merger barring the much-touted communist alliance in the country taking shape.
Many apologists of the UML are said to have disliked the idea of giving the reins of newly merged party to Prachanda. A die-hard UML party worker is apparently least interested to see the party being commanded by Prachanda, though according to the agreement signed by the two party honchos, KP Sharma Oli of the UML and Prachanda, both of them should be heading the new government or the new party, or vice versa. A large chunk of people in the country have been awaiting curiously how both parties would integrate their members, both seniors and junior party members at the central to the grassroots level, given the fact that both parties were once bitter communist rivals. Just before they announced the sudden alliance before the two-phase polls, the cadres of the both parties would not look eye-to-eye with each other.
With prospect of formation of the UML-MC government getting delayed, the UML is said to have been in dialogue with the Madhesi parties to explore the possibility of the forming the government, “in case the Maoist Centre exerts pressure” on merging the parties before the formation of the UML-MC government. Prachanda has already expressed his reservation over the UML chair’s recent dialogue with Upendra Yadav. The UML-MC alliance has won the whopping majority in the elections because of their promise of a political stability in the country. The people have given their mandate to the alliance because they were frustrated by the years of instability and political squabbles in the nation. The alliance, mainly the UML, should do justice to the people’s mandate by forming the government of the left alliance, which would give an exit to the continued political transition and the ongoing doldrums over the NA ordinance.

Prudence
In the meantime, the UML should not encourage the President’s office to take side on the matter related to the approval of the ordinance, which would only bring disrepute to the impartial nature of the office of the President. It would be prudent for the UML and its chair, KP Sharma Oli, to follow tips of the chairman Prachanda and Upendra Yadav to help President endorse the NA ordinance with the provision of the single transferrable voting system in it, rather than objecting to it. Because dilly-dallying over the formation of the left alliance government may derail the unification of two parties in due time and elongating the political uncertainties in the nation.

 

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