Carter Center Election Observation Mission in Nepal: Latest Report

Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal released its 5-point observations and recommendations yesterday

“Now is the time for the government of Nepal to demonstrate its genuine intention to hold a credible constituent assembly election on November 22, 2007. The parties must come together to convince the people of their dedication to this goal, take immediate steps to gain the confidence of marginalized groups, and address the poor security environment so that the peace process continues to progress.”former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

This statement presents the observations and continued findings of the Carter Center’s international election observation mission in Nepal. In March 2007, the mission deployed 13 long-term observers (LTOs) representing nine different nationalities throughout Nepal to assess the political and electoral environment in the period leading up to the constituent assembly election. The Center’s observers have visited all of Nepal’s 75 districts, in many cases multiple times, reaching not only to district headquarters but also to the village level.

The observations and recommendations below build upon the Carter Center’s previous pre-election statement and are based on information gathered by the Center’s headquarters staff and long-term observers in meetings with electoral authorities, government officials, political party and civil society leaders, security officials, Nepali citizens, and representatives of the international community.

The Carter Center conducts election observation activities in a nonpartisan, professional manner in accordance with applicable Nepali law and international standards for election observation as set forth in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The Center coordinates closely with other international and domestic observer delegations and publishes statements of its findings and recommendations on its Web site: http://www.cartercenter.org. The goal of the Center’s mission in Nepal is to demonstrate international support for and provide an independent assessment of the constituent assembly election process. The Center hopes that its activity will help ensure a credible process that is accepted by the people of Nepal and which serves to consolidate the gains of the ongoing peace process.

INTRODUCTION

Nepal has embarked upon a challenging and historic process of transition to sustainable peace and inclusive multi-party democracy. A critical component of this larger process, as laid out in the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), is a constituent assembly (CA) election that will lead to the drafting of a new constitution. Despite the issues The Carter Center outlines below, the Center continues to believe that a Nov. 22, 2007, election remains an achievable goal for Nepal. However, as time is now short and another electoral delay may undermine the legitimacy of the government, urgent, unified, and effective action is required on several fronts.

The primary burden of effort rests upon the governing Eight Party Alliance (EPA), though there are important roles for marginalized groups, individual political parties, civil society, and the international community to play. Thus far Nepal has made remarkable strides in a short period of time and all stakeholders – not least the Nepali people themselves – are to be commended for this substantial achievement. However, it is essential that the government and other stakeholders commit to addressing all pending challenges promptly in order to solidify the gains of the peace process and ensure continued progress.

KEY POINTS:

1. Demonstrate commitment to a credible constituent assembly election in November

Reports from Carter Center observers indicate a gap in trust between the people of Nepal and the present interim government, particularly at the central level. There remain doubts about the commitment of all parties in the Eight Party Alliance to the Nov. 22 election date. Recent Maoist pre-conditions relating to the declaration of a republic and large-scale revisions to the electoral system, made after all-party agreements were reached on these topics, do not help to instill confidence. Additionally, continued Maoist violence and aggressive behavior force the public to question the Maoists’ genuine interest in participating fully in the democratic process. The recent agreement between the government and a Janajati alliance is a positive and praiseworthy development. However, Nepalis from other historically marginalized groups remain concerned by what appears to be a lack of serious commitment to ensuring that they are sufficiently included in the ongoing political process. Finally, the fragile security situation, particularly in the Terai, provokes both short and long-term anxiety about the country’s future direction.

At present, there are only approximately 100 days until the planned CA election. Thus, from an electoral standpoint, the country is at a period in which discussions on changes to the election system must be brought to a close. Any final adjustments should take place immediately or be postponed for future elections in order to ensure the Election Commission has adequate time to prepare for the November election. Another electoral delay may undermine the legitimacy of the present interim government, which has as one of its core mandates the holding of the constituent assembly election. The Center is encouraged by the unity between the eight political parties that has been maintained throughout the peace process thus far, and is hopeful that they will sustain such coordination throughout the constituent assembly election.

The EPA government should take immediate and visible steps to restore the faith of the Nepali people in its commitment to the November constituent assembly election. An all-party statement pledging to conduct the election on time and abide by a code of conduct, backed up at the local level by political party election preparation and programs, will demonstrate the government’s dedication to the task at hand.

2. Take practical, concrete steps to address the concerns of marginalized groups

The CA Member Election Act has incorporated significant provisions for the inclusion of marginalized groups, which The Carter Center believes will ultimately have a far-reaching impact on Nepali politics and society. Additionally, The Carter Center congratulates the government and the Janajatis on the recently agreed 20-point understanding and hopes that this will set a positive precedent for other agitating groups. Other historically marginalized groups in Nepal such as Madhesis, women, Dalits, Muslims, and the disabled continue to press the government on a variety of demands. Some of these are specifically related to the election, such as the call for a fully proportional electoral system. However, many of the grievances go beyond electoral concerns. Regardless of the category, in most cases the main concern appears to be that the government is not sufficiently responsive and may not fulfill even promises it has already made.

In order to gain the trust of these marginalized groups and ensure they do not become spoilers in the CA election process, the government should not only continue with its ongoing negotiations but also implement specific, practical actions to gain these groups’ confidence. This is especially important in the Terai given the widespread mistrust toward the government. Additionally, the Center hopes that marginalized groups will realize that it is neither possible nor advisable to resolve all of their demands before the CA election. Some issues, such as state restructuring, are arguably best left for popularly elected representatives of the Nepali people to debate so that the final decision is viewed as legitimate. Moreover, the Center encourages these groups to consider that the gains to be had by holding the election under the currently proposed electoral system are likely to be greater than those achieved by stalling it. Compromise will be necessary from all sides to ensure that the peace process moves forward.

The government should promptly implement all agreements reached with marginalized groups, continue ongoing negotiations, and take further action in line with the spirit of the interim constitution. Additionally, leaders of marginalized groups should keep in mind the short time period left before the CA election and seek reasonable compromises so that their constituents are ultimately able to reap the benefits of the constituent assembly process.

3. Agree on a comprehensive security plan for the Terai and the rest of the country

The poor security situation in various parts of the country presents worrisome implications for the election. In particular, the Carter Center’s LTOs continue to receive reports of violence, extortion, and abduction by armed groups in the Terai. While the Center believes that the unrest could be significantly calmed if the government, through negotiations, takes additional timely measures to address the legitimate grievances of the Madhesi people, it is also necessary to simultaneously develop and implement an effective security plan in collaboration with Madhesi leaders to address ongoing criminal activity. Force should be used strategically and sensitively so as not to contribute to further alienation. However, it is of the utmost importance to re-establish police posts and ensure that well-trained, inclusive security forces receive sufficient political backing from the central level. Adequate security is necessary not just on election day, but also throughout the electoral process in order to allow for sufficient preparation by district election offices, voter education groups, and political parties.

Additionally, Maoist cadres and the Maoist-affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) persist with activities that violate the May 2006 Code of Conduct. The Maoist leadership is in a difficult position, having both to live up to their agreed commitments in the peace accord and to mollify increasingly vocal hardliners questioning the benefits of the peace process. Other political parties should consider that it is in the nation’s interest to help the Maoists with their successful transition to peace. Such support could include realistic discussions on how best to address the issue of the YCL and a willingness to engage in preliminary discussions on difficult questions regarding Security Sector Reform (SSR) and the process for integration of the People’s Liberation Army and Nepal Army laid out in the November 2006 arms management agreement.

However, the Maoists should also realize that their aggressive behavior continues to negatively affect the ongoing transition process and does not serve them well in their attempts to win the hearts and minds of the Nepali people and the international community. Maoist and YCL cadres need to cease all such behavior in order to demonstrate to the people of Nepal their desire to play a positive part in the ongoing peace process. Finally, if the upcoming constituent assembly election is to take place in a free and fair environment, and if voters are to be allowed to make informed choices, all political parties must be allowed to move and campaign freely across the country – regardless of their ideology.

The Center reiterates the need for the EPA government, in direct consultation with all relevant stakeholders such as Madhesi community leaders, to jointly develop a comprehensive and effective security plan in order to ensure a conducive environment in the Terai and around the country throughout the constituent assembly election process. Continued Maoist and YCL violence and aggressive behavior force the public to question the Maoists’ genuine interest in participating fully in the democratic process; all acts in violation of the Comprehensive Peace Accord must cease immediately.

4. Maintain electoral focus and momentum

The Carter Center is encouraged that the interim legislature-parliament has passed the Constituent Assembly Members Election Act. This Act sets out the electoral system for the CA and represents a significant step forward in electoral preparations. While there are a number of technical issues in the Act that remain to be resolved before the electoral system can be implemented, the Center is confident that the Election Commission’s regulations and directives will, for the most part, be able to remedy the existing gaps.

However, numerous provisions in the Act seem to place excessive trust in the political parties, with few mechanisms for accountability should they not live up to this trust. The most significant is the political decision to allow parties to assign candidates from the proportional representation (PR) list to the seats the party has won after the election. This practice has been used in only two other countries, Guyana and Serbia, and was widely condemned by observers as non-transparent for the voters and encouraging excessive party control over candidates. There is no reason to believe that its effects will be any different in Nepal. Additionally, it is possible this provision will further exacerbate internal party tensions as the party leadership engages in the controversial process of picking its winners, rather than providing resolution and closure in an already fragile, post-conflict context.

Consequently, political parties should submit and publish ranked candidate lists even though it is not required by law, in order to demonstrate their interest in allowing their own party’s voters to know exactly who they will be electing. Parties that do not follow this model should at a minimum ensure that after the election they pick competent individuals who are seen as legitimate leaders of the groups they are chosen to represent. The Center also strongly recommends that this provision for unranked PR lists not be carried forward in any future elections in Nepal.

The Center is supportive of the quotas for marginalized groups laid out on the proportional representation side of the election; however, the system ultimately selected is likely to be logistically complicated to implement. Though other, smaller marginalized groups (such as Muslims) were intended to be provided for under the interim constitution, they have been left out in the election law and the “other groups” category transformed into a reservation for all other Nepalis. The likely result of this new interpretation of the constitution will be that the “other” category is filled entirely by Brahmins and Chhetris.

Finally, confusion exists among the Nepali public over how the election system will actually work, and has resulted in suspicion from various marginalized groups that the government will use loopholes to deny them their rightful seats. It would behoove the government to ensure that accurate information is widely circulated in order to allay unnecessary concerns. There are several other outstanding electoral issues including legislation on the Constitutional Court and a final decision on electoral constituency boundaries that must be addressed in order for the Election Commission to finalize preparations for the CA election. These should be addressed immediately. It is also suggested that the Election Commission consider an extended period of party registration, given the postponement of the election from June to November. This could potentially provide an additional avenue for inclusion of marginalized groups by re-opening the opportunity for them to field political parties.

Given that the election is only approximately 100 days away, any final adjustments to the electoral law must take place immediately. Additionally, the Election Commission should remedy the existing technical gaps in the electoral law, clarify provisions that are causing confusion, and consider extending the period for political party registration. The government is also encouraged to make all outstanding legal and electoral decisions related to the Constitutional Court and the electoral constituency boundaries immediately. Finally, the Center highlights its serious concern regarding party selection of winning proportional representation candidates after the election and encourages parties to publish ranked candidate lists voluntarily.

5. Ensure a widespread, coordinated and effective voter education campaign and domestic observer presence

As noted in previous Carter Center pre-election statements, the government, Election Commission, political parties, civil society, and the international community have important roles in creating far-reaching and effective voter education and awareness campaigns. Providing the people of Nepal with opportunities for discussion about the special role of a constituent assembly election and how the new mixed electoral system will work will allow for an educated electorate that is able to make an informed choice on election day. Some encouraging efforts are underway by the election commission and civil society groups.

Additionally, an impartial and well-coordinated domestic observation presence is important for the constituent assembly election process. At present, there are several networks of organizations planning to observe the election, and the Center encourages these groups to work together to ensure that their efforts do not accidentally work at cross-purposes. There should be no competition between these different alliances as they all have the same goal: a non-biased, comprehensive review of Nepal’s electoral process. Donors and partner international organizations should encourage such collaboration while also stressing the importance of impartiality.

The Center encourages the government, the election commission, political parties, civil society and the international community to collaborate in order to implement a successful and far-reaching voter education campaign. Additionally, domestic observer groups should coordinate to generate plans for impartial and comprehensive election monitoring throughout Nepal.

CONCLUSION

Nepal continues to make significant progress in its ongoing peace process. The passage of the Constituent Assembly Members Election Act and continuing preparations by the Election Commission are positive signs that preparations are on track for the Nov. 22 election date. However, a strong, visible commitment from all political parties backed up by action on the ground as soon as possible is necessary in order to ensure that the agreed-upon goal of a November constituent assembly election is achieved. A second electoral delay is likely to harm the interim government’s credibility domestically and abroad.

Challenges remain and must be addressed quickly given the short timeframe. There is a need for the present government to build trust with the people of Nepal and specifically with historically marginalized groups in the manner it has successfully done so with Janajatis. It is also necessary for the government, in conjunction with all key stakeholders, to create and implement immediately an effective security plan for the country and particularly the Terai, where the involvement of security forces with substantial Madhesi participation and Madhesi community leaders will be of the utmost importance. Finally, the Center encourages the government to maintain electoral focus and momentum and for all relevant actors to participate in widespread voter education efforts and well-coordinated, impartial domestic observation efforts. None of these obstacles are insurmountable given sufficient political will and commitment by key actors. The Center believes that the above measures, taken in sum, will significantly contribute to creating an atmosphere conducive for the conduct of the November constituent assembly election.

The Center offers the above observations and recommendations in the spirit of cooperation and respect, and with the hope that they will provide useful discussion points for future action. The Center wishes to thank the Nepali officials, political party members, civic activists, and citizens, as well as representatives of the international community who have generously offered their time and energy to facilitate the Center’s efforts to observe the constituent assembly election process.

“Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.”

The Carter Center celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2007. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. Please visit http://www.cartercenter.org to learn more about The Carter Center.

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131 thoughts on “Carter Center Election Observation Mission in Nepal: Latest Report”

  1. hope,
    I’m afraid not. The monarchy is a recognised institution all over the world steeped in history and you only need one monarch to symbolise the institution, as opposed to another recognised institution called parliamentary democracy where it is recognised that voting selects the party who then selects the PM whether that be a son of a former PM or someone else. I think you are barking up the wrong tree with your potrayal of these institutions that have in their own ways contributed to nation building, independence and the human race.

    Only one King or Queen can do the job of symbolising monarchy but your theory of inherited positions is off the charts. A constitutional monarchy does not need brilliance just discipline and respect for people and history. On the other hand governing a nation or being a doctor requires competence. Again I repeat incase you missed it – no one wants a monarchy involved in government and politics. We shall leave that to the other great institution called participatory democracy.
    How can we guarantee a powerless monatchy? Well if we can guarantee a republic like some of you seem to do, what is so difficult in making the monarchy powerless through the constituent assembly? What we should be more concerened about is guaranteeing a democracy with the proper laws through the assembly.

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  2. Hawa

    I just want to remind you that we had ” powerless” monarchy and participatory democracy and we are experiencing the consequences. You can go on blaming one or the other facts but have to admit the fact that it is the individual aspect which made the difference.As you rightly said it is one monarch who symbolizes the monarchy when he goes heyward the whole monarchy is dragged on. And it doesnot matter you want it or not, when monarch decides to get in to the government nobody can stop him. And to expect discipline and respect for people from nepali monarchs, you must be joking!!

    Unlike monarchy , republican democracy at least have some provisions to check president’s power, the center of power lies with many individuals rather than one. People would feel more responsible as it was their choice of the person who is running the country, and they certainly will hold him accountable. On the otherhand can a monarch be accountable to anybody ever?? And when he is not selected by people where is the responsibility for him, will he abide by people when he has nothing to do with people?? Have you heard anywhere the monarch has been impeached for breaking a law??

    The most important thing about republic is every individual can dream of having the most respected position, people will be given fair chance to present themselve. I accept that still long way to go, but that doesnot necessarily means we must go back. That is the case in the world history. Monarchy’s has always given way to republic(except Roman Empire) because that is the way forward , that is progress and not to mention that is democratic!!

    As I mentioned earlier history cannot be changed, their contributions will always be there but if you force people to recognize it , it will backfire!!

    I still didnot find one reason why monarchy in Nepal should continue. If you still insist on prithvi narayan, then I’m surely for republic mate!!

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  3. Patriot,

    Which young generation are you taking about? Is it the one defined by the politicians wherein Deuba and Ram Chandra qualify as young generation? Or it is one led by people like Gagan Thapa who never pass out of university?

    From what I see is that we have to make a choice between the devil and the deep sea. But it is for sure that we have to make ‘sub-optimal’ choice. Any idea which one should be considered?

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  4. Hope,
    Shows how much confidence you have in the CA. The “powerless” monarchy apparently had plenty of power given to it by the 1990 constitution. That should not be the case in this historic assembly.

    Typical and expected that you would blame indivduals for every and all things. It is time we took some of the blame ourselves. What have we done for our country lately?

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  5. One more thing hope if history, and pride of being and the creation of a nation is’nt reason enough for retaining a constitutional monarchy with it’s functions determined by the CA, then so be it and vote for your republic. Throw manoarchy in the dustbins of history, as you probably would throw your own ancestor’s history into the dustbin as well. Are you proud of your own family history hope? Or would you lock away history in old people’s homes in loneliness and neglect?

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  6. Hawa,

    Hey buddy, you are gettin’ too personal, can’t you just give more arguments ??

    MOREOVER, I absolutely believe people should decide the faith of not only monarchy but also any political system that they wish to abide by , be it through the CA elections or by referendums!!

    As you are making things personal I would not make any comment further!!

    Bytheway, I am very proud of my family history probably more than king g.

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  7. Shaman – ur one hell of a pessimistic guy u knw tht? Well I dont blame u, after all we havent had many ppl who’ve set examples have we?

    The point is Shaman – we all cry for a need for change but we’re afraid to rock the boat. And I understand that fear is reasonable. But I do acknowledge ur reason for keeping inst monarchy. Only if it were guaranteed they dont meddle. Which I guess you cant. Anyways enuff of monarchy, its destined to go for vote it looks and let it remain like that, you and me debating abt it wont change the outcome would it?

    And dont worry, people u mention like Deuba, Gagan dont inspire me at all, though I dnt mind giving Gagan the benefit of my doubt. We dont have much choice do we?

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  8. Patriot,

    Again please don’t assume things. I have not raised the question of monarchy, keeping it or abolishing it. I have had no debate on that issue earlier and even now. As I said earlier, that is a different issue altogether. Secondly, what you have labeled as pessimism is reality glaring before us.

    I was pointing at the fact that we have only ‘sub-optimal’ choices available before us. And as per my knowledge, ‘sub-optimal’ choice is not always a better and correct one. What we are doing is inventing a same cycle as earlier with different players (having different slogans) whereas strengthening of the core democratic institutions and values are missing. I hope that the reason of ‘TINA’ (There is No Alternative) won’t bring in same results as before.

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  9. “whats the point of saying lets leave the issue of monarchy to vote. If that was the ultimate thing, then we leave everything to vote. No need for people to come here and put down their views. And with respect to people of Nepal, lets face it, majority are easily swayed by propaganda and often tempted to short gains than long term. Its educated people like us who need to lead the way.”

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  10. Kirat,

    That’s my point – do you have any regard for future generations or is the present all that counts without regard for history or the future.

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  11. Kirat,

    That’s my point – do you have any regard for future generations or is the present all that counts without regard for history or the future. You’ll get it – takes time to catch up.

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  12. hawa-I’m looking at the past and the future. In the past monarchy had it’s relevance for the development of this nation of various different ethnic groups. I cannot see it’s relevance in the present and the future as the institution of monarchy in Nepal is producing people like KG and CP. When an institution starts producing garbage how can it’s existence or relevance be justified?

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  13. By your logic, all the political parties have already lost their relevance because they only manage to produce garbage leaders. How can you justify their existence or relevance?

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  14. err…Shaman political parties are elected by the people. So if they produce garbage the people can throw them out peacefully in the next election. That’s the idea. So if the people fail to do that who can you blame? Ofcourse with better education and better literacy the people change and become better at electing the right leaders. How long have we had democracy in Nepal? Not even 20 yrs. That’s very young for a nation which is compounded by problems of illiteracy and poverty. Democracy get’s better with age. Where as kings aren’t elected but rather thrust on us. After over 200 years the institution of monarchy is still producing garbage, how much longer do you want to give it?

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  15. Monarchy was always a devisive factor greasing palms with only elites. In my community or in every other ethnic community I know I’ve never felt the relevance of monarchy in their daily lives. It has always remained detached from them. No wonder repbulicanism has so much support especially within majority enthnic communities, which maoists hoped to leverage but screwed up.

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  16. Kirat,

    You know how elections are fought and managed in developing countries like Nepal. And throwing the garbage in next elections has not exactly happened and it is unlikely that it will happen anytime soon. On theoretical basis what you say is absolutely correct. In reality, the elected leaders (and especially those in power) stonewall every opposition by all the possible means, either ethically or unethically. Nepal has ample examples.

    “Democracy get better by age” perhaps is too far-fetched statement. Rather than age of democracy, institutionalization of democracy, strong regulatory and electoral framework, and education does strengthen the democracy.

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  17. Shaman-how do you expect democracy to flourish when you never give it a proper chance? The soil of Nepal with active Maoists, active Monarchists, very low education, lower literacy, extreme poverty and an elite bent on sucking the blood dry from the common people is not conducive to democracy I agree. Institutions that support democracy cannot be built overnight. It looks as if you’re looking for an instant solution. It’s a long and winding road with many obstacles but if we want to get there we have to start the first small steps. Ha, ha! Sorry for sounding so pompous couldn’t help it. Look at the histories of India, Pakistan and Bangaldesh since 1947 and tell me which has turned out better in the end.

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  18. Kirat,

    We have never chose any ministers, not even pm. We elect mps, and parties choose ministers and PMs. That is our problem. All GPK has to do is win an election in his “district” and he will be a PM. No, we do not choose who leads the country. That is and has been the fault in our system all along. So, please do not sell this crap about we can throw out the leaders that we do not like. If i had (including all nepalis) the chance to choose who the next PM would be, i would have no problem with democracy in Nepal. But at the moment, GPK just has to manipulate or please the people of one “district” to become a PM and this is what i do not agree with.

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  19. B-It’s simple. Why vote for GPK in the first place? And even if GPK get’s elected how can he be PM if his party does not win a majority but another party does?

    Look democracy, especially in Nepal, has a lot of flaws. The biggest flaw being a large illiterate and poor electorate who do not fully comprehend how democracy/elections work. Over a period of time I am confident that with rising educational levels and a better understanding of democracy/elections by the electorate, we will be electing better leaders. I am afraid there are no shortcuts for us.

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  20. Kirat,

    Sorry to say but I am not looking for instant solution. However, I do hope to see some signs and which I do not. The part of the answer lies in improving upon ‘large illiterate and poor electorate who do not fully comprehend how democracy/elections work’. It is where our ‘democratic’ and ‘elected’ leaders have miserably failed time and again. I guess it is a part of misplaced priority. I hope that you will agree that present step (even though it may be a small one) can make difference but our ‘elected’ and ‘democratic’ leaders are simply unwilling and disinterested to take that step. In such a case, how will future be better is questionable.

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  21. Shaman-if we stick to democracy and not into rebellions/insurgencies/royal or military takeovers/coups than democracy should start working by default of a better educated and better understanding electorate. The problem is that people are impatient and looking for immediate results. In a democracy in a country like ours that is not possible. Look at the mature democracies in the world and see how long they have taken to reach the ‘mature’ stage…that should answer your questions.

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  22. Kirat,

    Why do we always end up comparing the Nepalese context with ‘mature’ democracies? That is not relevant here because there cannot be comparison between two contrasts. Moreover, should not we learn from their experiences if it is relevant? The question is are we?

    And unfortunately, I have not heard that ‘democracy working by default’ because it has work according to some framework either voluntary or involuntary. Democracy per se may not be adequate.

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  23. err..Shaman what’s your point? My point is that democracy is the best option for us despite the sad shenanigans of the SPA. Right now democracy might not look good but given time it will work. Better than the Monarchs and the Maoists.

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  24. Kirat,

    The point is only lip-service regarding democracy is not going to take us far. The current situation is that we are not able to consolidate and strengthen democracy because we are putting our options with people with very weak democratic credentials. As you would say, it is TINA (there is no alternative). The focus should have been building institutional framework and regulatory norms to consolidate democracy. And they have not done it. Worst part is, so-called ‘intellectual class’ or self-proclaimed defenders of democracy are not raising their voices nor they are putting forward any sensible idea.

    From the events that are going on, it is quite evident that these people (whether SPA or Maoists or nagarik samaj) will squander their chances again to give rise to another form of autocracy. It is natural also because mass will slowly be fed up with uncertainty (insecurity) and they will end up supporting an autocrat who will promise to end the uncertainty. Therefore, the biggest enemy to the democracy is the current political leaders themselves. Unless they improve upon their governance and functioning, we are heading towards bigger and bloodier mess than before.

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  25. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both
    equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail
    on the head. The problem is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently
    about. I’m very happy I found this in my search for something relating
    to this.

    Like

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