KATHMANDU: The effort of Nepal to move towards stable governance ever since the restoration of democracy in 1990 is likely to bear fruit it seems this time, with the successful holding of the three-tier elections since the country adopted a new federal structure of governance.
None of the governments in Nepal so far have completed a full term since the first elected government in the 1950s and the same agenda of the left alliance seems to have set a tone with the voters in the first general elections held after the promulgation of the new federal republic constitution in 2015. Stable government was one justification that the constituents of the alliance gave behind forming the alliance.
The left alliance is heading towards a majority and has now the opportunity to create history for running the government for a full five year term. It is also imperative now that the parties stop committing the mistakes of the past of making and breaking governments at will to elongate the transition for a good 11 years following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006.
Given the history of the failure of the parties to give stable governance, they themselves have inserted provisions in the new constitution that will discourage them to bring down governments frequently. Accordingly, a no-confidence motion against the government cannot be introduced within the first year of its inauguration and also if the term is less than a year to be completed. Furthermore, any no-confidence motion to be registered in the House of Representatives will have to include the name of the candidate for the next Prime Minister, which is also likely to be a deterrent as parties may find it hard to come up with a consensus candidate.
The instability in governance since the restoration of democracy in 1990 and the continuity of it after the peace process began in 2006 has made the country to suffer much in terms of socio-economic development. Even basic amenities like roads, health services, quality education, drinking water and social security have not been secured as of yet, with the country still lagging behind in the human development index.
The effort of the parties coming together to form the left alliance in a bid to what they say give stable governance to the country has been well received by the voters and they have given the mandate accordingly. Now it will be the turn of the alliance to respect that mandate and give the country much needed stability and accelerate socio-economic development for the next five years.
The Nepali Congress will also have to respect the people’s mandate and play the role of a responsible opposition to ensure that the new government works in the interest of the people and the country at large. It will also have to start working right after the elections to win back the people’s trust and do so for the next five years to come. It will have to look back at its past performance to see what and where things went wrong, and set a long-term goal to win back the support of the people at large.
Apprehensions however still lies about whether the major constituents of the left alliance, the CPN-UML and the CPN-MC will continue to stick together after the elections are over and the next government is formed. Though the parties have announced that they would become a single party following the elections, it will be difficult if they continue working on the formula of 60:40 sharing, as they did before the elections.
Nepali Congress party continues to be plagued with the division based on a similar formula between two or more factions within the party. The candidates for the general elections were chosen accordingly and hence have backfired in many constituencies. The Nepali Congress also carries a past of bringing down its own government when it had won an absolute majority in the 1991 elections.
Rather than faction or parties, leaders should now concentrate on the people and the country at large and deliver in their promise to accelerate socio-economic development of the country. Given the potentials the country has for development, a good five years of accelerated development would be more than enough for Nepal to graduate from a least developed country by 2022, i.e. the end of a five-year term and the beginning of a new one when parties will again be put to test by the voters.