Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Face the parliament


The country has been pushed to a new phase of stability after CPN (Maoist Centre), main party in the coalition government under Prime Minister KP Oli, decided to withdraw support to the government. Maoist Centre (MC) and Nepali Congress (NC), along with other parties, had expected PM Oli to resign from his post immediately after submitting the formal information of withdrawal of support. But Oli has made public his determination that he would not meekly resign but face the parliament and leave the government through proper process. The PM who was elected through parliamentary voting process can quit the post through legal means and this is the best bet. It is but appropriate that Oli wants to respond to points in the no-confidence motion and desires to put challenges he faced during his tenure in record books.

On Speaker Onsari Gharti's directions Parliament Secretariat has fixed the date from 21 to 23 July to discuss on no-confidence motion against Oli government. Meanwhile, a way out can be found before that date if political parties make a new agreement or a new coalition following mutual consultations. If that fails to happen, the voting after discussion in the House can pass or reject the motion. But in closely following the latest developments it appears that Maoist and its new partner NC will be able to pass the motion and Oli government can be unseated. However, nothing can be claimed with certainty as yet.

MC and NC have agreed that after the ousting of Oli-led government the next government will be under the leadership of Prachanda. Government made with this process is said to make way for another government after nine months. If everything goes according to the plan, all three elections: local, provincial and general, will be conducted before January 2018 as stipulated in the constitution. A new phase of stability will start from there.

But circumstances are not rosy. Fundamentally constitution has been a controversial document. Promulgated in a hurry, the statute could not address certain sensitive issues. Those outside the Constituent Assembly elections and those dissatisfied with the constitution are still expressing their grievances. Leaders of top parties were focused on constitution promulgation at any cost and they realized the need for quick amendment to it. Further amendment is still being floated. In other words, leaders with mandate to prepare supreme law of the land showed lack of far-sightedness.

Giving a constitution with provisions that would be irrelevant within weeks or months of promulgation is blatantly deceiving the public. People are right to raise questions about lack of a credible basis for political stability even after 10 years of movement for restoration of democracy. Leaders have to shoulder the blame for failing to institutionalize alleged achievements of the movement.

No-trust motion is the immediate challenge. Adopting democratic norms means that this motion should be handled through discussion and voting in the parliament. After all, it is the universally accepted measure to establish political legality. This is why probably PM and CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli adopted the political strategy to go through the process.

Despite this, some 'experts' of constitutional law have shown ambiguities in law to suggest the PM that his minority government can remain in power on the basis of these loopholes. This legal nitty-gritty is not the proper solution to current political complexity. Consultants should not provide wrong suggestions that serve vested interests. The PM should rebuff such suggestions.