First it was all about whether to install the presidential system or not. Then it was about what type of president? Executive, as proposed by the Maoist, or ceremonial, as proposed by NC and UML? That debate finally ended after political parties finally decided, on 15th Jesta when the first meeting of the CA was to take place, to have the ceremonial presidency in Nepal. They amended the interim constitution to reflect that decision as soon as the abolished monarchy.
The the Maoist brought new demand to the light: that both the president and the Prime Minister should be from their party. Having two persons from different parties will created two parallel power centers, they argued. There was tough bargain. The Maoists said that since they were the winners in the 10 April CA polls, the “losers” have no right to claim the posts. The winners, argued comrade Pushpa Kamal Dahal, take it all. Losers don’t dare to claim anything. The it was reminded to him by leaders of the losing parties that no one actually won the elections. Maoists are short of simple majority, let alone the two thirds majority that is needed to unseat the current prime minister and form the new government as per the current interim constitution. There was a tough bargain. Maoists tried their best to scare the “losers”. No they couldn’t. Finally, Maoist central secretariat decided to give up the claim to the presidency albeit with a string attached. The Maoists said that the president should come from the civil society, not from a political party.
What did they mean by that? Plain and simple: no Girija Prasad Koirala from the presidency. Koirala, the president of NC and acting head of state since 2006, is widely considered to be the next president. Today a senior leader of the party, Ram Baran Yadav, said that openly that Koirala should be the next president. The Maoists are, as of now, opposed to that idea. Their argument, again, is that there will be a parallel power center if that happens.
Why Maoists are so much worried about the parallel power center? In fact, the president will be entirely a ceremonial one. Symbolic one. But symbols are powerful. When there is a head of state not from their party but from other, Maoists will feel that they haven’t completely capture the state though their supreme leader will be having the post of the executive prime minister. The executive prime minister will not receive the credentials of the foreign ambassadors. But that’s the only thing. The executive prime minister will also not be the supreme commender of the army, that is Nepali Army. That’s it.
But this is all bargain which happens all the time in every shopping. This is the shopping of power which is called power sharing in a civilized way. Parties know that they have limits and the compromise to be reached. And that day is not that far, it seems though many might feel its taking too much time. But then bargaining is always a slow business.