President For Expediting Process
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has asked the political parties to expedite the process of constitution writing and ensure that the new statute is promulgated within the stipulated timeframe. Inaugurating the Second Judges’ Conference in Kathmandu the other day, President Dr Yadav said that early promulgation of the new constitution was necessary to institutionalise the achievements of Jana Andolan II and other popular movements; maintaining national unity, social and communal harmony; and ensuring political stability in the country. Indeed the paramount concern of the country and people at present is an early constitution, on which all the political parties are required to focus their attention and strength. The new constitution to be delivered by the elected representatives of the people alone would institutionalise the achievements of popular movements like the republican setup, secularism, federalism and inclusive democracy.
However, the constitution-making process has been unnecessarily delayed due to wrangling among the key political parties of Nepal. Despite consensus on most of the issues concerning the constitution, federalism, form of governance, the judiciary and electoral system are the fundamental issues that have delayed the constitution-writing process. The political parties are likely to compromise on all other issues, but the crux of the problem is on the model and number of federal states. The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have stood together on the federal model and its number, and have asked the other parties to back their proposal. However, the UCPN-Maoist and Madhes-based parties have objected to the NC-UML proposal. The NC and UML have proposed seven provinces, to be created on the basis of multi-identity and economic viability. Given the social and ethnic fabric and composition of Nepal, the proposal of the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML is more suitable. However, these parties have kept options open for compromise on certain things, if the other parties agree on reaching consensus. But all should take into account that a poor country like Nepal cannot afford many federal provinces. A minimum of provinces based on multi-ethnicity and economic viability with focus on good governance is the best option.
Democracy is a political system that requires maximum flexibility and compromise on issues concerning the people and country’s interest. Political parties need to understand this basic spirit of democracy and translate it into practice. Moreover, the constitution is a national priority, and it should address the concerns of all. Thus they should rise above their partisan arrogance and demonstrate maximum flexibility and make compromises, which alone would ensure a timely constitution and serve the larger interest of the country. The constitution should not be a case of victory and defeat of any political party and force. If the constitution is promulgated in time, the country and people would be the biggest winners.
Prof. Hem Raj Subedi is a noted expert on conflict mediation and resolution. Professor Subedi is currently a PhD Programme Coordinator and Head of...