Respect Popular Mandate

Ritu Raj Subedi

The sweeping victory of Left Alliance in the federal and provincial elections has triggered a tectonic shift not only in the domestic politics but also on the geopolitical front. This has set the stage for the national rejuvenation of Nepali state whose strength, dignity and glory was grossly undermined by the past rulers and regimes. The internal and external forces that do not want to see the Himalayan nation moving on the robust path of stability and economic independence are hell-bent on obstructing the post-election political process. They are active in foiling or delaying the transfer of power to the Left Alliance that gained a solid mandate to reshape Nepal in line with the new constitution written by the elected representatives two years ago.

Democratic practice
It is a universal democratic practice to peacefully hand over the reins of government to the parties that won popular mandate. It is the political obligation of the caretaker government to create an environment conducive for the formation of the new government. It is supposed to remove the constitutional and legal hurdles that come on the way for the installation of new dispensation. But the country has confronted just the opposite of this democratic practice. The legal impediment was created to denigrate the popular verdict. After a month of political squabbling, the ordinance to the election of National Assembly was authenticated by the President on Friday. The government failed to forge consensus on the ordinance among the major parties. The partisan interests took precedence over the broader national agreement needed to effectively implement the federal and republican charter.
Contrary to public expectations, attempts are being made to reverse the tide of change. It is as clear as day that the electorate has this time handed a resounding victory to the Left Alliance for its promise to deliver stability and prosperity. The media have reported that the ruling Nepali Congress has offered the post of prime minister to CPN-Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to drive a wedge between the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre, the two constituents of the Left Alliance. This is a disgusting ploy to reduce core democratic praxis to a filthy game. Politics is not a theatre where the ruthless and egregious moves are played out to meet the vested interest of some parties at the expense of the masses. It demands certain rules, ethics and norms that need to be abided by all the actors. Functional democracy thrives on a system that is nourished and driven by fresh and renewed mandate. If this process is stifled, it will give rise to anti-systemic forces, leading to vicious conflict and destabilization of the society. The entrenched volatility breeds ground for meddling of external elements that seek to handle ‘controlled instability’ by installing the government of their pawns and puppets.
The beauty of democratic election is that it allows the people to exercise their franchise to unseat an irresponsible government and put in the political parties of their choice. Nepali people have often applied their critical consciousness while rewarding or punishing the parties. There have been constant shifts in the voting pattern that reflect people’s deep desire for durable peace and development. For this, they tried and tested virtually all major parties in the past decades. This time they voted the Left Alliance to power for its convincing and appealing poll agenda. And the Left Alliance must be given a chance to prove its mettle. Hidden stratagem aimed at sabotaging the new power equation will hurt and betray the people’s faith and conviction. It will be highly unethical and apolitical.
At the same time, the new victors should demonstrate a sense of humility, restraint and pragmatism. Only then will they be able to transform the mandate to meaningful and result-oriented action. If the parties fail to aptly utilize their thumping mandate for the broader interest of the people, they are doomed to defeat in the next election. Every election is a lesson to the parties willing to serve the people and the nation. Nepal’s periodic polls offer an insight and wisdom to the parties. The voters have proved false the far-fetched predictions made by psephologists. The Left Alliance must learn from the debacle of NC-led government in the past. It should judiciously deal with the intra-party and inter-party contradictions.

Moral responsibility
The certification of the ordinance has ended the deadlock regarding the NA election, but the political and legal community has been split whether or not the formation of the NA is a prerequisite to the election of new prime minister. This has soured the relations between the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress. UML chair KP Sharma Sharma Oli has termed the ordinance unconstitutional and accused the NC-led caretaker government of cunningly forcing the President to approve it. This gives an impression that the government of the Left Alliance will render it null and void in the future. However, it is said that the UML gave a green signal to the President to certify it thinking that the protracted stalemate would only dampen the Left Alliance’s prospect to lead the government at the earliest. The CPN-Maoist Centre chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda pressed the UML not to be entangled into the ordinance, arguing that the inordinate delay only provides ground to the diabolic forces intent on disrupting the smooth political process. The legal glitches are likely to delay the PM’s election by almost one and a half months from now. Nonetheless, it goes against the grain of constitution to procrastinate the due political process on one or another pretext. It is the moral responsibility of all to respect people’s mandate in order to restore the much-needed stability and prosperity.

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