Nepal’s King Firm in His Roadmap for Democracy

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King Gyanendra is firm in his determination and has indicated many a time that he would not settle for less than holding the municipal elections, come what may.

That he is rock-solid in his conviction that he would handover to the people a completely railed democracy after the parliamentary polls next year gets reflected from the equally compact utterances being made in recent days by his ministers.

The King in doing so visibly wants to send signals to the world’s democratic countries that he was true to the norms and the values of a democratic system. Since elections constitute a strong element for a functioning democracy, he would arrange for the polls next February, using all resources available to him.

The King in doing so has practically shut the mouths of certain political brains abroad who in so many ways took the King’s declaration of the polls as a ploy to linger his rule. The democratic West thus is in a dilemma on how to condemn the elections because a functioning democracy demands it.

If they reject the elections, it would mean that the West’s considerations for democracy in their own lands and Nepal differ. If they agree to the holding of the polls, that would surely mean strengthening the hand of the Monarchy which would further mean cheating the agitating seven party alliances who are hell bent on boycotting the elections.

Thus the questions mainly revolve round the theme of the elections. The possibilities are therefore listed here.

  • Elections will be held.
  • Elections will be boycotted.
  • Elections will be violently disturbed.

These three opposing views emanate from three separate political forces within the country and mean that the nation will be forced to witness shifting positions in the coming months and in so many ways chart the course of the country’s politics.

The net result of the collision of these three sets of ideas as regards the elections will be utter chaos, mayhem and anarchy. What would be more dangerous and frightening as well if some extraneous forces inimical to Nepal tries to fish in Nepal’s troubled waters as the situation would be definitely grave and the intra-fighting of all Nepali forces would have made Nepal weaker than what it is at the moment.

Naturally when the government says it would hold the elections, it would put its entire energy and resources to accomplish the elections.

Similarly, when the agitating political parties declare that they would boycott the elections then as a matter of fact they would also convince the voters not to visit to the poll centers wherein there is a possibility of a fierce clash between the government forces and the party cadres of political parties. This is frightening indeed.

Thirdly, the Maoists have said in no uncertain terms that they would not only violently disturb the elections but would also take “people’s action” against those filing candidacy to the elections and also to those who happen to be seen around the polling centers.

And what the Maoists mean when they declare such threat loaded warnings every body in the country knows. That the Maoists can go to any extent can be easily predicted. In such a case the holding of the elections will definitely become a matter of real concern to those who have vowed that they would conduct the polls under any circumstances.

All the “necessary” preparations have been made to ensure the safety of the candidates and of the polling booths. What is surprising and intriguing is the fact that why the parliamentary parties wish to boycott the polls? For fear of the King legitimizing his rule? If that is the case then they forget that King is a legitimate force and will continue to be so even if they like or not. What is the harm if the King conducts the polls? In more ways than one such elections will enhance the democratic values and the people will be allowed to enjoy their due rights to vote which will further facilitate the parliamentary polls ? If the parliamentary polls are held and a new parliament is formed, the King will have no choice other than to handover the regime to the newly elected parliament.

This would certainly hasten the derailed democracy to return to its originals rails and to the best of this analyst’s knowledge that is what the agitating parties want. So why are they shying away? What is the rationale behind boycotting a democratic process?

As for the Maoists, well since they do not believe in the parliamentary system (although very recently they have accepted the multi-party system in words only), their disturbing the elections should not come as a surprise for any democrats both within and without. But when multi-partyists and constitutional forces talk of boycotting elections under one pretext or the other, one is forced to suspect foul in the entire game.

Summing it up, what the Maoists had been longing for has come to them on a silver platter through the kind courtesy of the seven party alliance, who have had a distinguished record of placing faith in the parliamentary process and the supremacy of the elections.

Definitely, if the elections are held and if the parties continue to talk of boycotting the elections, they might lose their grip in politics, at least at the grass roots level.

In the meantime, several UN bodies have sought clarifications from the Maoists as to what they mean when they say of taking “people’s action” against those participating the municipal polls.

The Maoists have yet to respond to Ian Martin’s OHCR questions. Needless to say, the insurgents’ answer is eagerly awaited for a variety of political reasons.