Amid failure by the political parties to reach consensus on a way out of the current political deadlock, Republica talked to some prominent people from various walks of life. Excerpts:
Bhimarjun Acharya, Constitutional Expert
There are various reasons behind the failure of political parties to make their negotiations fruitful. Firstly, there are some drawbacks in the very modus operandi of talks. Secondly, the talks are focused mainly on partisan interests as the parties do not seem willing to sacrifice their party positions.
There is also lack of a mechanism and willpower among the parties to implement the decisions that are said to have been reached during the negotiations process. Thirdly, our political leaders are much influenced by both domestic and international factors, which make it impossible to reach consensus despite any willingness. Above all, there is intra-party conflict in all political parties.
The parties need to forget the bitter experiences they had in the past to forge consensus. The only way to reach consensus is to fix a new date for fresh CA elections. It is so much better if there is a new national government in place for that. If not, this government could be reshuffled before settling a new poll date and forging agreement on election-related issues.
Daman Nath Dhungana, Former Speaker
Since we are passing through a critical political transition, this is a time for cooperation among parties. They need to forge consensus on a national agenda while rising above petty partisan interests.
It is high time the party forged consensus on the larger interests of the country. This extraordinary situation requires an extraordinary leader. The CA saw its demise without promulgating a new statute as the parties could not put aside partisan agenda and find compromise. I believe there is a need of mediators as the parties have utterly failed to arrive at a consensus.
Tula Narayan Sah, Political Analyst
There is deadlock due to mismatch between the sentiments of the public, the agenda of Jaanaandolan II and intentions of the major parties. While Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have appeared ´anti-federalists´, the intention of the UCPN (Maoist) appears only to prolong their stay in power. Worse, Madhes-based parties do not have decisive power as they lack a majority. The only way to resolve the deadlock is certainly fresh elections. I hope the parties arrive at consensus on election-related issues in next month or two.
Hira Lal Bishwakarma, Dalit Activist
The series of meetings held for consensus is nothing but orchestrated drama. None of the parties favors going for elections. They appear to be in a mood to prolong the current situation as none of them has the guts to go to the people. While the NC and UML have not left a good impression among people, the Maoists have turned out to be no different from traditional parties.
This is why they want to prolong the transitional period. They also fear that they will be swept from politics as new forces advocating the agenda of ethnicity and regional politics have already come into existence. It is high time an alternative political force emerged to awaken the parties from deep slumber.
Bandana Rana, Woman Activist cum Journalist
Self-centered politics is chiefly to be blamed for lack of consensus among parties. There is lack of collective spirit and sacrifice among the parties. That why people face this kind of situation time and again. Civil society has also not been able to exert pressure on the political parties as it appears clearly divided in line with their political ideologies. Therefore, civil society needs to become assertive and exert strong pressure for consensus. There can be resolution of the current political problem and promulgation of a new statute only if political parties are patriotic and genuinely committed to people´s welfare.
Sangita Lama, Journalist
The political parties need a code of conduct to follow while reviewing past mistakes so that a new statute is possible as per the mandate of various people´s movements including Janaandolan II. Otherwise, the state of confusion and hopelessness among parties will continue to prevail.
Renu Rajbhandari, Woman Activist
Self-conceited thinking among parties and their tendency to fight for power has left the country without a constitution. The parties failed to listen to the voices of the marginalized and suppressed. Since the government and political parties won´t listen to peaceful protests, there is need to raise voices strongly in the streets. Political parties have forgotten why there was a people´s war and a Janaandolan. Civil society needs to remind the parties of the objectives of those struggles before there are fresh elections.
CK Lal, Political Analyst
Political parties have low level of confidence due to internal problems in their respective parties. So, they do not know that they have to begin the talks. At this situation of political stalemate, outside facilitators have become necessary for parties to help arrive at a consensus.
Jhakendra Ghartimagar,University Teacher
The recent developments show that leaders from the political parties don´t have any clear vision on addressing the ongoing political stalemate and ably lead the country from the ongoing transitional situation to a logical conclusion. We find that leaders never hold negotiations focused on specific agenda items because they have neither any strong willpower nor a clear roadmap on how to bail the country out from the crisis let alone a vision to address the people´s aspirations. The leaders irrespective of political parties have no confidence to go for fresh CA elections because they have no answer to the people why the parties are holding CA elections within a span of couple of years.
They don´t have any vision to solve the problems through revival of the CA either. Therefore they are totally confused and they make conflicting remarks one after another. It is due to lack of vision and sincerity. But at the same time, the non-political actors are also equally responsible. The social groups and civil society members, who had been fervently demanding constitution before the demise of CA, have remained conspicuously silent after May 27. As non-political sections have failed to create strong social movements, leaders haven´t realized any urgency. The government is another body that could have played very constructive role to end the crisis by facilitating serious negotiations among the political forces. But the government is not taking any initiative nor is it interested for that.