Power politics reason behind failure to draft constitution
KATHMANDU, May 28: As the political parties engaged in hectic parleys all through Sunday amid uncertainties over the new constitution, Republica caught up with some civil society members to get their views on what might have gone wrong in the last four years and what could be the best way out.
Although all of them blamed the parties for engaging in power politics rather than focusing on constitution writing process, their opinions differed greatly. This is what they had to say.
Content of statute unimportant
-Daman Nath Dhungana
If major political parties were energetic in striking deals from the very first day of the CA, the country would not have confronted such a serious constitutional crisis.
As the end of the CA term nears, the content of the constitution has become less important. Regardless of its content, the statute must be endorsed by the CA. However, if the parties declare a new constitution at the last moment, CA members will not have enough time to read it thoroughly before signing. It is likely that some people may not even accept it, terming it as a political document rather than a constitution.
Of course, the content of the constitution can be determined by the parties. But, the CA members should be given enough time to read each and every aspect of the statute. Otherwise, what is the point in electing 601 CA members? Sadly, the wrangling over power has consumed much of the CA term and has deprived the CA members of chances to carefully read the new statute.
A fresh mandate needed
The political parties have made five major mistakes in the last four years that made it difficult to write the new constitution.
The parties formulated their strategies by keeping in view the post-constitution elections instead of focusing on the constitution writing process.
The parties tried to resolve key issues in closed-door meetings rather than in an assembly elected by the people.
The parties tried to downsize each other.
The parties did not hesitate to take any decisions to manage intra party rifts.
As the popularity of the parties declined, other power centers emerged outside the CA. It became increasingly difficult for the parties to deal with the pressure created by such power centers.
These are the main reasons why the CA failed to deliver a new constitution even after its four term extensions. As the CA failed to deliver a new constitution, the parties should seek a fresh mandate from the people. And, getting a fresh mandate is possible only after conducting elections for a new CA. The existing interim constitution can not address the growing aspirations of the people. A new CA election, therefore, is only way-out.
Leaders have misconception
-Padma Ratna Tuladhar
In the past, political leaders did not appear serious about writing the new constitution despite our warnings. They have now almost lost an opportunity to create a history, made possible by the sacrifice of many Nepali people. The country has virtually plunged into a crisis. But, it is also an opportunity for the leaders to show their leadership quality.
The political leaders always reiterated that constitution writing is an easy task if issues of state restructuring, system of governance, electoral system and federalism are resolved. They were true to an extent. They resolved the issues of state restructuring, system of governance and electoral system through closed-door meetings. But the issue of federalism is something that can not be resolved in closed-door meetings. It is an issue intrinsically linked with political movements. Unfortunately, they tried to resolve even this issue from closed-door meetings. They overlooked the fact that they can not resolve the issue of federalism without consulting the people.
Federalism is not meant for dividing the country. But, some of the political leaders have a misconception that they federalism will disintegrate the country. Some of the leaders who have acknowledged the truth that federalism will in fact strengthen the foundation of the country have also been deliberately spreading false rumors. This very conception prevalent among some leaders has made it almost impossible for the CA to write the new constitution.
However, if the final draft of the new constitution is tabled in the CA before Sunday midnight, the CA remains until the new statute is declared.
Result of power politics
The failure of the CA to write the new constitution stems from power-centered politics. The political parties should have focused on the constitution drafting process right from the CA elections. But, they spent their time and energy in capturing power. The parties also engaged themselves in mud-slinging. Ever-brewing intra-party rifts also added to the failure of the CA.
Now that the natural term of the CA has expired, we are heading toward a crisis. The best way out for the parties would have been to declare a new constitution by selecting one of the models of federalism proposed by the State Restructuring Commission. The parties could have decided to address other important issues of federalism like naming and demarcation in the extended parliament.
A new constitution without federalism will not be accepted. Such constitution will be burnt immediately by ethnic groups. Therefore, a constitution that has at least one model of federalism and promises to resolve other issues of federalism later would have averted such a crisis.