JUN 05 - The prime minister seems to have no intention of resigning in the near future
Over a week after the three-point agreement, in which the Maoists offered their support in the Constituent Assembly (CA) to extend its tenure in return for a guarantee that Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal would resign, there has been no indication that the parties in government are intending to keep their side of the bargain. In the beginning, it appeared that perhaps the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML were indeed sincere when they held that the prime minister would resign immediately following agreement on issues related to the peace process such as integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants. By now, however, there is evidence to give credence to the Maoist suspicion that there was no point reaching such a package deal because the government would then again refuse to resign, putting forward other conditions which the Maoists had to fulfil before getting any share of the new power sharing arrangement.
The most recent evidence that demonstrates that Prime Minister Nepal has no intention of resigning is his decision to prorogue the seventh session of Parliament. President Ram Baran Yadav announced this move after he was requested to do so by the prime minister. As the Maoists have been complaining, they were not consulted beforehand. As decided between the prime minister and the finance minister, the next session of Parliament is to be called on June 8 and is to be the budget session. Such a unilateral move is, first of all, detrimental to the trust between the political parties. The Maoists will feel vindicated in their belief that the other parties are simply taking them for a ride and have no intention of fulfilling their promises. This may lead the party to adopt a more confrontational posture in their dealings with the Nepali Congress and the UML.
Second, the move to prorogue Parliament without consulting the Maoists does in fact indicate that the prime minister has no intention of resigning in the near future. The presentation of the budget is the most important of the annual policy activities of the government. By once again seeking to draft and present it, the government seems to intend to stay on in power for a substantial period of time so that it can set much of the financial and development agenda for the following year, and in the process, reward supporters with a view to enhancing the power base of the particular leaders and parties in government. This view of the government is extraordinarily myopic. If the government decides to stay on in power despite all opposition, it is almost guaranteed that the peace process will make no progress over the following months. The nation will continue to be consumed by the battles between the parties, these will swallow the energies of all the political leaders, and there will be no movement towards the establishment of stability or focus on development. And, of course, the constitution will not be drafted in the next year. With these implications, the prime minister would do well to reconsider the move that he is currently planning.
Posted on: 2010-06-06 07:14