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The Slide

When King Birendra gave his first public interview after the restoration of the multiparty system here, the uproar of protests from the political establishment had to be quelled by the stature of Ganeshman Singh and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai who asserted that right for the constitutional monarch. There were none however to pontificate democratically about the perversion of the parliamentary process when, in reaction to prime minister G.P. Koirala’s dissolution of parliament of which he not only held the majority but was also the Nepali Congress parliamentary party leader. A section of his own party in parliament combined with the opposition combined under the leadership of the speaker of the house approached the constitution monarch not to acquiesce to the prime minister’s advice to dissolve parliament since, as they claimed, the prime minister had lost his majority. That internal party differences should so be allowed to reflect upon the democracy has been a repeated bane of a democracy which has opted to dictate unknown practices in utter disregard of the utility and strength of democratic processes and practices evolved over the years for that very purpose. As a result, this seeming ignorance of democratic practices and their utility considered routine in democracies have led to such hiccups as a minority government, upon loss of parliamentary support, repeatedly telling the constitutional monarch to dissolve parliament when the parliament still demonstrably retained its demonstrable majority support. The wisdom of the constitutional monarchy was amply publicly displayed when the King chose to consult the courts and the decision that emanated was upon advice of court. A party championing multiparty democracy had had such precedents that none discuss the sudden turnaround of their public stance that the party chairman should not also hold on to the prime minister’s office when party chairman B.P. Koirala flipped himself to the elected office upon his party’s election win and the constitutional monarchy actually preempted its impact within the ruling party, the constitution and the monarchy by what is termed was his constitutional coup.
King Gyanendra was denied this preemptive option by the 1990 constitution when the Nepali Congress displayed its leadership tussles bearing upon the democratic process in the Koirala-Deuba tussle which, willy nilly, dragged in the constitutional monarchy. The combined strength of political organizations overtly and covertly supported by external powers blind to the misuse of democratic norms successfully gorged on the system by failing the efforts of the calculatedly disgraced  constitutional monarch to, as constitutionally prescribed, salvage the democratic process through elections which were opposed by the parliamentary stakeholders at the prompting of the external powers and by the sections branded as terrorists by these very so called champions of anti terrorism and democracy. These aberrations, not surprisingly, continue and its results on the democracy merely continue sustain and nurture the impudence. And so we have a prime minister who had lost his majority in parliament unable to resign on that account without a presidential decree; we have a partner in government deserting government in the midst of a parliamentary budget session which it helped table and now we have an election government that is unable to oust a partner which has publicly voiced a new election partnership with the opposition and we have a parliament that can neither dissolve itself nor be dissolved until its full tenure is complete. To boot, we have no champions of democracy pontificating on these blatant aberrations. The morning, once again, cannot but show the day. Democracy has and is being undermined, as has always been the case, by our politicians.

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