Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
My way or no way, Nagarik

The people have been let down once more in their desire to see closure of the constitution and peace process. The Maoists have again allowed their internal power struggle to spill into the national arena even while the PLA camps were starting to be decommissioned.

The Maoists have gone back on their previous agreement and set forth the condition that they will not move on the integration and rehabilitation of their fighters unless the other parties agree to their proposal for a new state structure (under a directly-elected executive president). This is a clear indication that they haven't given up on their goal of state capture and the setting up of a totalitarian state. The Nepali Congress has concluded that the Maoists are trying to write a new constitution with a gun pointed at everyone's head. Even Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who had shown flexibility in the recent past is now towing a hard line, and the opposition has reason to be worried.

The Maoists could be trying to delay the process and haggle over the future form of governance. Some even reason that if the Maoists are able to delay the process beyond the 31 May deadline, the constitution itself will be void and it will be easier for them to establish a totalitarian regime.

Whenever there is an agreement on the constitution or the peace process, Maoist leaders suddenly start having a public disagreement about it. They have endless meetings and leak their positions to the press and then they start dismantling the agreement point by point.

All this could be because, the reasoning goes, even if the constitution is written and fresh elections are held the Maoists will be unable to win a majority without guns or violent behaviour. Furthermore, there may be investigations into war crimes and human rights abuses.

Whatever the cause, the Maoists and other parties must work towards ending the current stalemate over the forms of governance. On one hand, a directly elected presidential system neither ensures political stability nor will it necessarily lead to an authoritarian regime. On the other hand, a parliamentary system has provided stability in many countries. The real reason why some systems fail and others succeed has to do with the style of governance and whether or not the political parties show a democratic culture. Political leaders now need to weigh all the available options and resolve this matter sensibly.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)