Elections, Democracy and Terrorism In Nepal

The very foundations of democracy are the elections wherein the people exercise their right to elect representatives to either the local bodies or the parliament. Nepal has been without a parliament for almost three years. It was the complexity created by the political parties that has led to this situation. The Election Commission (EC) has now made all necessary arrangements for elections to all the 58 municipalities in the country, scheduled for February 8, 2006. When the democratic process, of which the elections are an integral component, has started rolling, it becomes the bounden duty of all the political parties to take part in the municipal elections.

Their commitment to the democracy ideals must have them participate in the polls instead of raising hue and cry over nothing. The strikes and violent protests are not a means to consolidating democracy. The parties must realise that they have a responsible role to play to see that democracy is not in any way disturbed. It was their own follies that saw the people, who had pinned great hopes on them, getting frustrated. The opportunity is here for the reactivation of the constitution through the polls and for the political parties to get the mandate of the people.

The Home Ministry, in a press statement, has said that the government is committed to ensuring that the polls are not hindered. It also said that it remains alert and vigilant to see that any act to disturb the polls is brought under control. This comes as an assurance from the government so that the people can cast their votes without any fear and thereby exercise their right. The ministry has also requested everyone to vote confidently in the polls and not be unduly influenced by the allurement of anyone. Herein, it must be remembered that the municipal polls, to be followed by elections to the House of Representatives during the next year according to the Nepalese calendar, has the objective of ending the present situation where the local bodies are without the people’s representatives.

The government has made strict security arrangements so that the polls can be held in a peaceful, fair and impartial manner. When the government has given such reassurances, there should be no doubt in the mind of all, including the political parties that are hell bent on creating chaos and making big talk of boycotting the election. It is presumed that reason will dawn on them and that they will participate actively in the forthcoming polls.

Former Prime Minister and senior leader of the Nepali Congress Krishna Prasad Bhattarai has highlighted the role and contribution of the monarchy in upholding the prestige and glory of the country. Speaking at a programme the other day, the elder politician asked the political parties and leaders to respect the Crown and contribute to building and enhancing the prestige of the monarchy in furthering the cause of democracy and development of the country. The former prime minister, who had assumed a major role in ushering in multiparty democracy in the country in 1990, said that unlike the political parties, the monarchy is an institution of a permanent nature. “Parties are here today and gone tomorrow”.

As remarked by the senior politician, there is no disputing the fact that the institution of the monarchy has been at the centre of Nepali nationhood. It is under the leadership of the benevolent Shah monarchs that the country became united and achieved new milestones in the sphere of democratisation and nation-building. The institution of monarchy has never been contested, and its role has never been disputed. The monarchs in Nepal have always listened to popular concerns and allied with them to solve their needs and aspirations. It is the tradition of the Nepalese monarchy to be a part of democratic innovations and norms that strengthen the foundation of good governance in the country.

No forces, as said by the former prime minister, can sever the deep bonds and relationships that link the King and the people together. The glorious history of Nepal has proved that the united efforts and initiatives of the King and the people can overcome any national crisis. The benevolence and compassionate approach of the Shah kings to the people has been a matter to be proud of for the entire Nepalese people.

As counselled by the senior leader, the political parties should cooperate with the monarchy in building the basis of democracy and constitutional governance in the country.

As stressed by former prime minister Bhattarai, it is high time that the political parties refrained from defaming the monarchy and lent cooperation to the King to further the task of building democracy and strengthening the nation.

By Chetan Shrestha

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