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     Volume 7 Issue 17 | April 25, 2008 |

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Respect People's Verdict

There is no rule, regulation, understanding or agreement more compelling and legally binding than the people's verdict. If not, the constitution formulated during the single party rule would neither have been scrapped nor would the Constitution of 1990 be replaced by the Interim Constitution of 2006. Therefore, the decision the people have expressed through the CA elections on April 10 should be honoured above anything else.

The Nepali people have loudly and clearly stressed that they do not wish to see the same old faces in the government. Not only that, the citizenry has acted smartly and sent old and tainted faces packing. But there were a few who managed to get away by putting forward their ethnic credentials. Hence, the decision of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) to quit the government and not to participate in the upcoming Maoist-led administration should be welcomed. Unfortunately, some of the Nepali Congress leaders might succumb to greed and choose to stay on in power. It would be a suicidal game for the party and the leaders themselves.

Why should the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML remain out of the government? First, the people have rejected them. Second, the Maoists will never be completely exposed in public otherwise. The people should get to understand that even the Maoists cannot stop taking the overdue action of raising the price of petroleum. Both the people and the Maoists have to realise that price rises are not under anybody's control. The only way to fight inflation is economic growth and job creation. Third, the political parties should go to the people and reform their grassroots structure. They will have enough time for that purpose, if they refrain from joining the government. This is also an opportunity for the parties to weigh their colleagues and find out who are really committed to democratic principles and who are opportunists.

Of course, the Interim Constitution has envisaged a coalition government even after the constituent Assembly elections. The Maoists have requested the political parties to remain in the alliance. But the people are against their joining the government. Moreover, a member of the Seven-Party Alliance, the NWPP, was not part of the government even before the polls. And the Maoists themselves had at one time quit the government for a few months. Obviously, the process of integrating the two armies will become a little complicated now that the Maoists have been put at the top of the chain of command of the Nepal Army. But this issue will be handled better by UNMIN and the concerned parties themselves. The only duty the people have given the NC and the CPN-UML is ensuring that the constitution that is to be drafted by the Constituent Assembly is completely democratic. There should be no compromise on the people's fundamental rights, periodic elections and freedom of expression. If the political parties ensure these basics, other things will fall into place on their own, and their turn at the helm will also come sooner than later.

This article was first published in The Katmandu Post. Reprinted with permission.

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