By Prakash Bom
What is the primary objective of the CA Elections? Are political leaders clear about it? If so, have they made it clear to their party cadres and their supporters in general public?
CA elections are the elections that all political parties of the nation and the general public must be aware of their urgency with clear objective for building a democratic nation– ‘a new democratic Nepal’. This is the mandate of the people’s movements and the aspiration of people that no political party can overrule it.
The ‘Constitution’ that will be drafted for the new democratic Nepal must guarantee the ‘Civil Liberty’, ‘Civil Rights’ and ‘Human Rights’ of people, and the ‘National Integrity’ of Nepal. The general voters must be acquainted about the objectives of the CA elections. Campaigns for CA elections should not only be the campaigns of political parties but also of all Nepali people who trust in electoral (competitive) process of democracy.
The other question has come up for the Republic setup with the failure of the institution of the monarchy. The majority of the political party leaderships and cadres are aware of this choice. This change has come about with the aspiration of the majority of people for the republic. Should the CA elections make this decision for the nation or the Interim Parliament? The nation now needs immediate attention.
SPA leaderships in the government have failed with the lack of vision and the justice over the national crises. People were worried, especially those who were marginalized by the current governance structure and practice. Therefore with the questions of the restructuring the nation people have come up with the demand of federal structures that will give people the opportunity for the direct participations in nation building process with the electoral rights for ‘self-governance’. If the political leaderships had the vision for the nation; if the elites were honest with their knowledge and experience; the federalism could have been the need of the time for the nation building mechanism.
It is absolutely necessary at this point for political leaderships and ruling elites to understand the federalism that it is the mechanics of the democratic government without which the competitive electoral system cannot be institutionalized. Democracy without the right to self-governance people will not have right to participate in nation building process – only chosen elites, as the government authority will dictate the process. The political leaderships have not done any homework on this issue. If they have done they could have come up with some proposals for the federal governance structures.
Under Interim Constitution we have accepted federalism but we have not come up with any proposal that will give incentives to people for CA elections. For example, if we federalize five states that will equally share the national resources from Indian boarders to the Tibet – plains, valleys, mountains and Himalayas will have local governments based on population for village (county) governments and city municipality governments by dismantling districts of feudal oligarchic governance structures.
Five states will have state assembly, governor & cabinet, and state Supreme Court through competitive electoral process. The constituencies of the state will be determined on the population basis for the representatives of the Federal Parliament of the nation.
Each village (county) or city municipality government will have assembly, mayor & cabinet, and county or city judge, attorney, law enforcement officer, comptroller (audit) through competitive electoral process. The nation will have employments through the electoral process and appointments by the public service commission from federal (central) government to the village (county) governments.
If the political parties desire to win the elections on the party basis by having voters ignorant about the CA elections then the issues are something other than building a new democratic nation devoid of feudal oligarchic or totalitarian government mechanics. Otherwise they must face that they have not done any homework for the CA elections for making people aware of elections’ objectives. The party based elections will not be fair election. For general voters have rights to information on CA elections before they walk to the voting booths. The reasoning for the deferral of the CA elections must touch these pragmatic issues for change.
Frankly, political parties have no preparation for the CA elections. This is what I have observed on my visit to Nepal last month. The attitudes of the political parties have not changed in their campaign for CA elections. It seems their campaign is motivated with the intimation and bribing to get the votes of ignorant yet innocent people who are deprived of information. Their strategy for the elections is like of the Budhiman Tamang as the representative of the ‘Forum for Dhading Development’ informed me that Mr. Tamang is busy giving water buffalo party in his constituency for the guaranteed vote bookings of CA elections.
Political parties, which are rushing to CA elections, might be afraid of those, which have assets to give water buffalo parties and strength to intimate people with death threats. What could be the best strategy for those who cannot afford neither other than educate voters with the primary objectives of CA elections to create a new democratic Nepal? There could be then hope for establishment of the competitive electoral institutions of democracy.