Disappointing Post-election Period
The public euphoria that immensely prevailed few weeks ago have hit a major blow in the post-election period. Out of the desire to see a stable government, the voters mandated the left alliance to lead the government and move ahead in the path of development and prosperity. Almost two months after the election, the roadmap to the formation of the new government is still ambiguous leaving ample space for political bickering. Against this backdrop, people have started expressing their frustration in informal discussions with each other about the working style of political leaders after the poll results which is characterised by blame game, non-transparency and irresponsibility.
While in a normal scenario the prime minister would have announced his resignation from his post on moral grounds thereby paving the way for handing over the power, this didn’t happen unfortunately. Instead, the present government has been rather slow to appoint the provincial heads and declare the temporary capitals- two major tasks which should have been done even before the election. Due delay in such crucial appointments, the political course has been further derailed. Contrary to the general expectations, the government without bothering about its caretaker status has shown its interest in key policy decisions - for instance granting Rs. 5,000 for patients suffering from chronic disease and other appointments beyond its jurisdiction particularly after the new election mandate.
Bone of contention
The Nepali Congress (NC) and the left alliance has been polarised in terms of the role of the Election Commission (EC) after the elections.Citing the election to the National Assembly as a precondition for submitting the results of the proportional representation polls, the EC has vigorously pushed the government to declare the heads of the provinces to whom they have to submit the provincial poll results as per the constitution. On the contrary, the CPN- UML and the left alliance have expressed their grave concerns over the posture of both the EC and the PM. Suspecting his undue ambitions to prolong the stay in power, the alliance has been highly critical of PM SherBahadurDeuba. On a positive note, however, the dates of the National Assembly elections have finally arrived though not catering to the expectations of the soon to be united leftist parties who had demanded it much earlier.
In a country where the caretaker status of the government has even by exceeded six months in the past, it might not be surprising to witness the current political stalemate. But given the promises made by the parties to transform themselves in the new political setup and focus on development and prosperity, the early indications have been really disappointing. If the last six weeks present any standard criteria to gauge the activities of the mainstream parties and compare it to theirpromise of focusing on core development agendas, a gloomy picture appears in front of the public. Without changing their fundamental characteristics of leadership and parties overall functioningstyle, even a techincally stable government won’t contribute effectively in the public service delivery.
Nevertheless, pertinent problems lie within the left alliance itself. With the mysterious delay in the unification of the two parties- a commitment strongly made before the election, the process of expediting the discussion on the new government has also taken a backseat. In the absence of a unanimous candidate of the PM from this alliance though during election time it appeared pretty obvious, the problem has gone from bad to worse. With the on-going intra-party debate of power bargaining over the coveted posts of PM and chairman of the united party, the integration process has come to a standstill. What is distressing to note is that the leaders of the alliance instead of fixing their internal problems have blamed other forces- internal and external for attempting to foil the party integration. One wonders what sort of foundation of the unity has been laid that gets so easily shaken by external forces.
Before the public faith on the elected leaders totally disappears, the parties with a clear majority need to take some serious ground breaking initiatives to end this stalemate. This would mean making public their consensual candidate of PM sooner than later. Similarly, concluding the process of party unification with respectable management of party organisation and multi-layered leadership from the local to the central level would add to their credibility. Unlike in the past, wrangling over the power positions will only postpone the unity.
The Nepali Congress on the other side should engage in serious reflections over the loss in the current election and contemplate on revamping the party structure as per the need of the new political structure. Instead of shying away from taking the responsibility of the humiliating defeat, the current party leadership should exhibit a sense of ownership and welcome the reform agendas put forward by leaders of the second and third generation.