Uncertain Course

Even as the country inches closer to a grave crisis ahead of the May 27 constitution deadline, political parties are yet to show signs of making any meaningful compromise<br>A CORRESSPONDENT

March 5, 2012, 5:45 p.m.

In the midst of growing disputes among political parties on constitution writing and peace process, the bomb blast that killed three people near Singha Durbar secretariat in broad daylight serves as prelude to Nepal’s possible scenario after May 27, 2012.

Although an unknown ethnic group took the responsibility for the blast, the event made a sinister hint that whether Nepalese political parties promulgate the new constitution or not, one group or another will be ready to oppose any move, pushing Nepal into another phase of turmoil. 

Until five years ago, UCPN-Maoist party used to explode similar bombs in cities killing innocent people and terrorizing them. As Maoists are bargaining for integration, an unknown United Jatiya Morcha has surfaced as a new facet to carry the baton left by Maoists.

Despite political differences, all major political parties condemned the bomb blast, but they have not indicated that they could forge any compromise over the country’s constitutional issues.

Although a high level political mechanism has been working to promulgate the new constitution by May 27, the indication is that it would have to go a long way before any agreement. Given the present political scenario, Nepal will have to face another phase of political crisis.

“If the current political impasse continues, it is impossible for us to promulgate the new constitution by May 27,” said Nilamber Acharya, chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly. “There is the need of an agreement among major political parties on fundamental issues like restructuring of the state, forms of government, judiciary and others  to promulgate the constitution.”

Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel said UCPN-Maoist leaders are not sincere to their words and commitments. The reason? According to Nepali Congress leader Paudel, Maoists seem to be in a process to carry on with the deadlock till May 27. Similarly, CPN-UML leader K.P. Sharma Oli held the view that Maoists were uninterested to write the constitution.

“The Maoists are in no mood to let the constitution come into place within the deadline without continuing them in power,” said Oli.

After holding the elections for CA four years ago, Nepal’s political parties have extended the tenure of CA several times. The Supreme Court has already made it clear that any further extension of CA will be unconstitutional.

Given the Supreme Court’s strict order, any extension of the tenure of the Constituent Assembly will definitely spark controversies. Even some civil society leaders like former speaker Daman Nath Dhungana have publicly announced that they will call people to rebellion against any meaningless extension.

Maoist leaders are still hopeful that they will find a political settlement at the last minute as in the past to avert the major political crisis. “PLA cantonments will be vacated within 2-3 weeks. The cantonments will be vacated within the proposed period, but there should be progress in the constitution drafting and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission fronts. Then the process of constitution writing begins,” said UCPN-Maoist leader Prachanda.

Whatever be the remarks of Prachanda, only an eleventh hour miracle can avert the looming political crisis. As there is no possibility to have any consensus and agreement on political agenda, the wait is on for such a miracle. That type of miracle will be a statement about Nepal’s major political parties and their role on the fundamental issues before the nation.

In course of prolonging political instability, even if Nepal produced a constitution, it will not guarantee the much needed stability.  A long way to go for stability, in its real sense?

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