Second CA election is now certain

काठमाण्डु टुडे २०७० मंसिर १ गते ८:२७ मा प्रकाशित

Kathmandu, Nov. 16: The nation is to witness a second Constituent Assembly election on Tuesday November 19 after five uncertain years of the first CA election.

As we see election campaigning by candidates, their door-to-door visits, their rare greetings just at the threshold of voters, Election Commission’s timely preparations and on top of that all, the government’s resolve with proper security to hold the polls, the second CA elections is now certain.

When we say this, we have to make it clear what were there for any uncertainty?  The first CA elected in 2008 had failed to draft a new constitution even in its four year extended term; the CA was dissolved amid disputes among political parties.

The then Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai announced election after the dissolution of the CA, but it was opposed by parties which wanted a new consensus government, but consensus was never forged.

As a last resort, the present government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi as chairman of the Election Council of Ministers was formed with consensus among parties.  Just as it was formed, it too was opposed by some sections of the society.

The new head of government was chief justice and it was opposed as violation of separation of powers in a democracy. However, as per the amendment of constitution he was not to act as chief justice while heading the government.

This was made possible with an amendment of interim constitution when he was an incumbent chief justice. The amendment was spearheaded by the major four parties of the country.

Just as Regmi took the helm, he was opposed by one or the other sections of the society, but he had a strong backing of the major forces of the country, the four major parties including UCPN-Maoist, NC, CPN- UML and Madhes based alliance Madhesi Morcha.

This helped Regmi to move on the path to second CA election firmly with determination. The Regmi-led government of former bureaucrats became popular day by day as they did not have partisan motives and stratagems to stay longer in power or for making any political gains. As the chairman was a chief justice, he had neutrality as the main mantra.

Had the Chairman been engaged in accusations and counter accusations on all his criticisms, the government would have been a failure and another government had to be formed for the CA we are now waiting for. And, possibility of holding a CA could have been uncertain. But Chairman Regmi was firm on his agenda, the purpose of the formation of his government by political parties themselves as a way of out of the never ending debates over who should lead the government if a party-led government had to be formed.

The government was determined to holding a free and fair election as it is called an Interim Election Council of Ministers and had nothing to do with other political agenda like the issues to be included in the new constitution. After all, if we want to draft a constitution through a CA, it should be given the responsibility itself and why homework outside of it is needed for the contentious issues. Is the Constituent Assembly for drafting only some portions of the constitution?

Whatever Chairman Regmi and his ministers talked about was election and nothing else other than for what purpose they were there.  The country’s choice was to put them there by amending the interim constitution as the country was tired of inconclusive talks and forming of party-led governments only to bring them down after few months.  The stakeholders of the 2006 movement could not come to one place for an all-party government and the country was being talked of being a failed state.

The Regmi government stopped the country’s path to becoming a failed state.  It made many appointments urgent for the nation including in the Election Commission and the CIAA. Although CIAA chief commissioner appointment became a debate despite it being as per party recommendations, the works it carried out could not be disputed.

The government for the first time in many years brought a full budget and stopped the country from plunging into economic crisis. The budget brought by the government’s Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala was lauded by many including the private sector.

Had this government not serious about the election and had tried to gain advantage in the prevailing crisis, the imminent election could not have been possible.

Despite many criticism and protests by 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist and ten-days banda called by them to disrupt the polls on November 19, major political parties and majority of the people are in the election mood, eager to vote after a long time, since first CA in 2008 and to punish those who lingered the constitution writing process for four long years.

The election is now just at the threshold thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the Election Commission, its Chief Commissioner Nilkantha Upreti and other commissioners to fulfill the responsibility they have been bestowed. All the election related materials have now reached the constituencies and election related staffs and security forces including the Nepal army are ready to take control of the situation if any thing untoward happens to hinder the process.

Although some sporadic incidents of arson in vehicles, planting bombs and hurling petrol bombs on vehicles and setting them ablaze have occurred as anti-poll activities across the country, people and political parties are ready for the election with election fever gripping the nation. Now, nothing can stop the election from happening as it is the only way out of the present day crisis when transition has prolonged without a new constitution of the people.  RSS

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