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Constitutional dissatisfaction

By PR Pardhan

pushpa-columnYes, we all know that the present constitution, although drafted by the people’s representatives themselves, is full of controversies and many are dissatisfied with it. From the first day of promulgation of the constitution, dissatisfaction against it was witnessed in the streets. Many people sacrificed their lives while protesting against the constitution. Still, the constitution amendment bill is pending in the Parliament.
Now, none other than Pushpakamal Dahal “Prachanda”, who is claiming that the promulgation of the present constitution was a great victory of his party, Maoist Center, is found expressing dissatisfaction against the constitution. Although Dahal is claiming that the present constitution carries his party’s agenda, now, he is seeking a major change in the constitution by introducing presidential rule and directly elected president by the people. Dahal has argued that the present constitution cannot give a stable government, which is true.
Dahal and his party had strongly lobbied for introducing proportional election. Since the introduction of the proportional elections, the political parties, except from some exceptional cases, have ended chances of any particular party bagging a simple majority in the parliament. By adopting such an election procedure, one cannot think about the formation of a stable government. In conclusion, through the present election procedure, there will be no stable government and there will be no political stability in the country.
Is the presidential rule better? This is a subject to debate. If such a system is adopted abruptly, the country may witness dictatorship like in many countries, where the president has emerged as a dictator. Nepali leaders are seen more loyal to the foreign powers and responsible towards such powers rather than the voters. Even if once a leader is directly elected as a president by the people, one cannot guarantee that the president will be loyal to the country and the people. If the president wants to serve the foreign interests, who can stop such a president having the people’s mandate, from doing such a thing? Today, there is the provision of there being a strong opposition in the parliament, even though, those in the government are not hesitating in practicing corruption and serving foreign interests. Still there is a check and balance system in the parliamentary system, but the leaders in the government, instead of maintaining self-discipline, are found violating the constitutional norms. The leaders of the major three parties believe that they are above the constitution. They ruled the nation for years under the syndicate mechanism. Even in the parliamentary system, the leaders are performing dictatorship, if a presidential system is introduced, certainly, there will emerge a dictator.
Talking about political stability, the PV Narsimha Rao led minority government in India ruled for five years. It became possible because the Indian leaders maintained parliamentary discipline and they were loyal to the motherland. Contrary to that, in Nepal, when the NC had the necessary majority in the parliament, due to lack of democratic practice in the party, the Girija Prasad Koirala led majority government collapsed in just three years.
Therefore, in the Nepali context, which system is suitable, one cannot predict, as we have hopeless and visionless political leaders and always, they are inviting accidents. A political system is just like a vehicle. The movement of a vehicle is solely dependent on the attitude of a driver. If the driver is alert, conscious and perfect, the vehicle will take proper course and if a driver lacks capability to drive a vehicle, an accident is obvious to happen.
Of course, the present “loktantra” imposed by the foreigners is not in the sole interest of the nation and the people. In fact, democracy is not all in all. What this scribe believes is that a country like Nepal needs sustainable democracy having strong rule of law. As there is absence of sustainability, the present “loktantra” cannot go on for a long period. However, a presidential rule cannot be an alternate to the present “loktantra”. Therefore, sooner or later, we have to return to the 1990 constitution if we want to rescue the nation from the present deadlock scenario.

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