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Machhapuchre Bank

The Haunting

editA little over ten years ago the country was going to polls in municipalities that had been made bereft of elected representatives just as the country, in a little over a week from today, is scheduled to go to polls in selected regions in the supposedly first phase of local level elections which the country has admittedly not have had since nearly two decades. By public admission from none less that sitting prime minister Prachanda, the elections then took place under threat of violence and deaths amidst agitations conducted by the currently predominant political monopoly who had publicly boycotted (and violently scuttled) the elections. Ten years later today the monopoly faces no public visible insurgency against the polls and, yet, with the polls so imminent, public belief and enthusiasm that the elections will take place is virtually skeptical at best. This is despite the media created election environment and repeated assurances from both the government and the opposition together that elections will take place as scheduled. This is clear indication that our electoral democracy is in doldrums.
This is rightly natural. The hard-sell that elections should take place at all costs since the public have been deprived of their right to choose their local leaders for the past two decades cannot but prevent the public from recalling that it was these very political leaders that deprived the public from this right. An elected government that had dissolved parliament for elections admitted that he was unable to fulfill this obligation because of the politics that was monopoly of these very politicians under the previous constitution. The onus was shifted to the head of state who was constitutionally the guardian of the constitution and symbol of national unity. The king was deprived of parliamentary unity in solving the constitutional crisis by these very monopolists and, in the absence of any other constitutional options, had little recourse but to call for support for elections under a government he was only to chair but the support was denied him.
It is these very monopolists today who call for participation in the elections they have declared and it is these very stakeholders that continue to instill a sense of utter skepticism that the elections will occur. Elections must take place, as everyone knows, to implement a constitution that their monopoly has thrust upon the public which they claim to have been sanctified by the ninety percent plus elected to the constituent assembly. This semblance of electoral democracy has been challenged by their making again. The underlying skepticism is best exemplified in the last minute fielding of candidates by even the major parties. While these hectic activities to meet the election deadline may be accounted to internal partisan wrangling, the fact that these very parties are in negotiations with the Tarai parties for election schedules belies the unreal atmosphere for the election promptings. That they postponed the deliberations for the yet to be concluded amendment talks without paying heed to the set schedules for nominations is another example still of the continuing uncertainty. To boot, yet another spanner in the priorities of the legislature has been thrown into the web of uncertainty b y the very business of amendments being disturbed by the possibility of the government falling on account of its diminished majority numbers not just for the amendment votes but also for its very existence. Their muscle, money, media and clout appear for the moment not to have enthused the popular enthusiasm for the polls since, by their own doing, our political parties insist to be scuttling the polls as they have been doing for the past two decades.

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