Friday, March 02, 2007

Democracy in Nepal? Three Questions

The last time I checked, democracy was defined in the dictionary as follows:

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Now let's look at the democracy in Nepal. We have a government by the eight parties, on which the supreme power is vested (according to the interim constitution). Half of our parliamentarians are not elected agents and we haven't had free elections in over eight years.

Now one might argue that this is a special case. The people have just wrested power back form an autocratic king and it takes time to build democracy. I agree 100%. But, how long are we going to operate with excuses? When will results exceed excuses. After all, isn't that what we are always left with -- lots of excuses and very little results.

So, on that note, I am just looking for answers to three questions:

  1. What is being done to hold free and fair elections so that we finally get to have elected agents making decisions?

Currently, we have an ad-hoc parliament deciding everything in the name of "the wish of the Nepali people." How do they know what the wish of the Nepali people is? Have they been out talking to their constituents (god knows who has what constituency)? Or have extensive polls been conducted? If people power is supreme and that is all we care about, shouldn't the top priority be to hold elections and see what the people really have to say?

  1. Is the Maoist's threat to unilaterally "declare republic" a sign of their own autocratic attitude, fear of facing the electorate, or simply a ploy to intimidate voters?

If people are the ultimate deciders in a democratic system, why are the Maoists always saying things that utterly disregard the intelligence of the Nepali people? One has to understand that "Nepali people" include far more citizens than the vocal, aggressive and destructive kinds you see on the streets everyday. And, if who you see on the streets are indeed representatives of the Nepali people and their general mood, what is the objection in simply going to the polls?

  1. Who is in charge?

A time of crisis can pass peacefully and productively if it is clear that someone is in charge of the situation. Who is in charge in Nepal? The Prime Minister seems to be saying one thing and his own ministers (apparently representing the wishes of the Nepali people) contradict him without even thinking about how foolish it makes all of them look. By Prachanda's bold statements, it looks as if he is desperately trying to show that he is in charge, but his blabber hardly fits someone who understands what it means to be in charge. The press is always crying foul and the civil society is too busy singing the Maoist song. Half the people are busy protesting and the other half is quietly sitting at home. Who is in charge?

So when will the kids stop fighting so they can come home and do their homeworks?


Dr Prithvi said...

I agree with your clear analysis of the "democratic situation" in Nepal. Your three questions are spot on and get right to the issue. Also, I have another question about the specific understanding of democracy and that is whether Nepalis generally understand that it is also a double sided coin. I mean, that with the things that you "get given" in a democracy such as freedoms of speech, election, religion etc, there are also obligations, such as obeying the rule of law in its many forms and guises. These include no corruption, no bandh, driving on the correct side of the road (!) etc.
I have my own blog at which I hope you can visit.
Are you nepaliblogger on Nepal News?

bhupen said...

loved your post, but a the list of news links on the right column didn't make me all that happy.

hope to see more of your post than links on this site.

anyways, keep up the great work of keeping your voice alive. Nepali Blogs have now become so popular, which i think so, its just fun to be with around a network of blogs.


Nepali Blogger said...

Dr. Prithvi,

Yes, understanding of democracy is more important than simply "branding" a system as democratic. I was simply implying that since we in a transitional phase, we need to meet certain preconditions before we can go further into more tactical issues like the ones you have mentioned.

Bhupen, the news links on the sidebar are not something I choose. They are automatically generated by in Google news on Nepal on a given day. I just put it there as an additional service for visitors to my blog.

Anonymous said...

what are the attempts taken up to now to restore democragy in nepal?
who is respomsible for today's condition of Nepal?(maobafies,7parties or king0

saroj said...

who played main role to change the date of constituent assembly?
Is it the role of girija babu to be in post for longer?
how can this government make people feel that the election will be surely held in manshir-6?

Anonymous said...

fuk u!