Calls For Sacrifice For Consensus
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has called upon all the political parties to rise above their partisan interests and reach a compromise for a timely constitution. Speaking at a joint meeting of the parliamentary committees the other day, Prime Minister Koirala said that consensus on the contentious issues was not possible unless the political parties reached a compromise by giving up their partisan stances and agendas. The prime minister’s remarks indicate the commitment of the government to deliver the constitution by January 22 next year, which is the deadline promised by the political parties to the people. If the parties are serious about keeping their promises made to the people, they must build a broad consensus on certain issues, for which the parties have to make compromises on their stances. In a democracy, consensus may not be possible on each and every issue as the political parties have diverse ideology, position and perception. Thus, they must agree to settle the issues concerning the constitution through universally accepted democratic norms.
Given the stances and arrogance of the parties, it seems there is no alternative other than the democratic process to settle the disputes to ensure the timely promulgation of the constitution. The Constituent Assembly is politically and morally obliged to deliver the constitution by January 22. If this deadline is missed again, the political parties will lose credibility in the eyes of the people. Now we have less than a month to meet this deadline. If the political parties continue to lock horns, more time will be wasted. The political parties have wasted more than 11 months in the name of consensus. But the key issues have yet to be been settled. Thus, more time should not be wasted in the name of consensus, and the due process needs to be initiated in the Constituent Assembly to decide the key issues as the country cannot be kept hostage forever in the name of consensus.
The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have stood together and put forward their clear stance on the issues concerning state restructuring and form of governance. This is their clear commitment to give the country a new constitution within the period they had earlier promised. The country has already suffered a long and protracted political transition. An early constitution is the only alternative to ending the political transition and institutionalising the achievements of Jana Andolan II and other people’s struggles. This alone will herald an era of peace, stability, democracy and economic prosperity in the country. Early promulgation of the new constitution is not merely a political issue but one also linked to the fate and future of the country and the people. Thus, the political parties are required to accord priority to national interest on issues concerning the new constitution.