Two weeks after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the nation is yet to find an easy passage to the chaotic political situation. The blame game among the political parties regarding who should be held responsible for the CAís dissolution, failure to find the much talked-about consensus, the ruling coalitionís unwillingness to give up power to form a unity government, and break-up in the largest communist party, the UCPN (Maoist), are certain to protract the ongoing transitional politics.
Lately, the opposition political parties have been accusing the Maoist party-led caucus of Madhesi and pro-ethnic groups for the dissolution of the CA, while the ruling coalition has roundly put the blame on the rival parties for not accepting the modality of state restructuring that ensured the identity of the dominant ethnic groups.
Government under fire
But much of the accusation is being heaped on the government, especially against the main ruling partner, the Maoists. The issue of state restructuring failed to take shape at the final moment largely because the ruling coalition saw the dissolution of the CA and Parliament as the best option to remain glued to power for an indefinite time.
Constitutionally, the ruling coalition enjoys an upper hand now that there is no parliament to which it is accountable. Even the president, who earlier declared the government as a caretaker one, seems to have his hand tied by the constitution. Although he has been egged on by the political parties not to endorse any decision of the caretaker government, he must follow the constitutional route, which is evident from his latest endorsement of ordinances regarding the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and Extradition Treaty.
Although the two ordinances were necessary to save Nepal from being blacklisted by the global anti-money laundering body, the presidentís endorsement of the bill could open the floodgates of other ordinances, which would naturally frustrate the opposition parties. Those against the present ruling government fear that the government would introduce all the required bills through an ordinance in the days ahead, allowing the government to continue in power until new elections for a new CA or the parliament were held.
The government has also drawn flak for its latest activities that suggest that it wants to remain in power instead of working for consensual politics by taking into confidence the opposition parties. Lately, the government has been drawn into controversy over the transfer of top police officers, which undermines the election code of conduct. Since the government has announced new elections for November 22, the election code of conduct bars the government and its affiliate bodies from making any transfers, appointments and carrying out activities that would undermine its neutrality.
Likewise, the participation of the prime minister in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil has come under scathing attack from the opposition. It had asked the prime minister not to visit any foreign country because the nation is passing through a difficult period. The cadres of the opposition parties even held a protest with black flags while the prime minister left for Brazil. The incident shows that there is a greater chasm between the ruling coalition and the rival parties, who have, out of their frustration against the government, already decided to launch protests of different kinds in the coming days to force the government to step down.
As if the deepening rift between the government and the opposition were not enough, the largest party in the now defunct CA has just suffered a break-up, which is certain to push the main agenda of completing the peace and constitution process to the back seat. The Maoist hardline faction, after creating much trouble for the establishment side for a considerable period, went on to form a break-away party, which is a failure on the part of Maoist strongman Prachanda in keeping the party united. The split in the party has exposed his inability to keep happy the different dissatisfied elements in the party. The Prachanda-Bhattarai unity had come under fire before the split took place. The two leadersí attitude of showering their cronies with power and lucrative posts had distanced many leaders of the hardline faction.
The break-up in the communist party reminds one of the trend in the Nepali communist movement - they remain united in difficult times and start bickering and then break up in fair weather. The rift in the Maoist party has as much to do with personal ego as with its principle.
With the formal split in the party, the two sides are likely to engage in washing each otherís dirty linen in public. The two sides are now engaging in scathing verbal attacks, which are reflective of the communist nature. The Baidhya group has been heaping invectives such as revisionists and extreme rightists on the establishment side, while the latter has been berating the hardliners for allying with pro-royalists to cause the split in the party. Now that the party has broken up, a new phase of robbing supporters, cadres and leaders from each otherís parties may take place for sometime.
Not for consensus
The recent happenings in the national politics remind us that though the political parties and other various institutions are making a clarion call for consensus among the parties at this very difficult juncture, they are actually not for it. Especially the ruling coalition seems to be fearful that once they go for consensus, they will have to quit the government, which is not acceptable for them at least for the time being.
But the opposition parties are moving heaven and earth to bring down the government. The internal dynamics in the major political parties, which has witnessed break-ups in the political parties of the coalition, has been an obstruction in achieving a lasting solution to the present crisis.