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House reinstatement is not enough; Nepal needs a holistic revamp

The new political map of the country issued by the government of Nepal, on Monday, May 18, 2020, and launched on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Nepal’s politics has been in turmoil since the prime minister dissolved the House of Representatives on December 20, 2020. In this context, political parties and various organisations are raising voices for correcting the unconstitutional step.

If the prime minister takes an unpleasant step by putting the constitution at stake and if it is not rectified on time, not only will the country face a serious confrontation, but there is a danger of falling into a dark whirlpool.

The Supreme Court has recently concluded a debate on the constitutionality of the prime minister’s move, and many expect the apex court will revoke the ‘unconstitutional’ decision and reinstate the House. Many others are speculative.  

Even among those who are wishing for the reinstatement of the House, many are questioning themselves: will the restoration of the House of Representatives only solve all the problems of Nepal? Is the last fight only against the unconstitutional move of the prime minister?

In particular, we must be able to protect the achievements we have achieved including the constitution. The sacrifice of thousands of youth for the drafting of the constitution has not dried up yet. A justifiable solution should be found.

File: Nepal’s Parliament building

The constitution is incomplete. It is a fact that the constitution has not been able to unite the sentiments of all. Because the political party that came through the revolution was weak and divided till the second constituent assembly, the new constitution could not cover the radical and people-oriented transformation in the form of government, constitutional organs and judiciary.

On the other hand, the constitution is not set in stone; it can be modified. We are in a position to amend the new constitution made in 2015 as it has made clear provisions for amendments.

If the current balance of power and the sentiments of the people are not respected by the constitution, if the constitution does not give ownership to all, instability and unrest will continue in the country. Hence, it is needed to develop the constitution further, by amending it.

In this situation, instead of losing or winning, all parties, groups and individuals should go beyond their petty interests and give a solution to the country by consensus. We need to rethink our constitution and the state system.

Even today, one side is in underground politics refusing to abide by the constitution, and it has been banned by the state. On the other hand, even the prime minister who has been sworn in under the constitution is arrogant towards ending the constitution.

Apart from that, on the one hand, the judiciary, constitutional organs, security agencies and diplomatic agencies are raising voice in favour of a progressive state system of the directly elected executive head of the statement. Meanwhile, some are coming forward with an agenda to establish the identity of Vedic Sanatan religion and culture.

The then President Ram Baran Yadav greets the constitution as he announces its commencement on September 20, 2015.

Now, there should not be the politics of prohibition; it should be a time of cooperation and respect. Let us all consider the idea put forward by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami that the development of civilisation in the 21st century should be through dialogue, although Samuel Huntington thought that the development of civilisation should be through the struggle. A civilisation can be developed and built through struggle and dialogue only if we can adopt the middle-way idea suggested by Gautama Buddha.

  • Let us all realise the responsibility of restoring the House of Representatives immediately. Then, let us give momentum to the country by amending the constitution.
  • In order to make the form of government more democratic and people-oriented in the constitution, make a directly elected head of government and a fully-proportional parliament to ensure the representation of all parties and groups.
  • Similarly, let’s restructure the judiciary with s democratic transformation to establish fair and accessible courts for all citizens.
  • Our constitutional organs are not functional and are not able to function independently and accountably to the people due to political interference. For that, let’s make the process of appointing the constitutional organs accountable to the parliamentarians.
  • Our security forces are also operating in a classical way. Due to political interference and weak internal management, the security forces have not been able to make significant progress in protecting Nepal’s geography and people. Let’s make a structural transformation to make the security forces well-organised, dignified and technology-friendly.
  • Similarly, let us not ignore that most Nepali people are not satisfied with the issue of secularism. Human society needs to preserve and improve its history, religion and culture. In the process, the identity of Vedic Sanatan Dharma has to be maintained here. The majority of Nepal’s population are Hindus; let’s all be responsible for its proper management.
  • Our country is very sensitive geographically and strategically. China and India, emerging as superpowers in the world, are our neighbours, whereas the United States, the post-World War II superpower, is trying to hold on to power in Asia. In such a complex situation, we must be able to practice balanced, dignified and transparent diplomacy with all countries. Let’s make it a common national policy for all parties to invest in it and commit to implementing it.
  • Let’s seriously move towards making Nepal’s respectful presence in the world as a socialist state by achieving equitable prosperity on the basis of rapid and sustainable development by restoring the House of Representatives, amending the constitution and maintaining national consensus.

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Hamal is a political activist affiliated with Naya Shakti Party, Nepal.

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