Nepal still “upside down”, its political system prone to not being stable (ex-Indian envoy)

former Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri | Twitter | @ambmanjeevpuri

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New Delhi: Recent events in Nepal show the country remains in an “upside down” situation where alliances are too readily available and politics is plagued by “rent-seeking” behavior, the former ambassador of Nepal said on Wednesday. India in Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri.

“Nepalese policy has remained as it always has been, that is, backwards. Anyone is capable of making an alliance, no subject can be left out, the usual business of rent seeking continues, ”he said. noted at the launch of the book, “Constitutional development of Nepal”, by Dr Rakesh Kumar Meena, Assistant Professor at DAVPG College, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

The virtual event was organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).

Referring to the growing ties between Nepal and China, Puri said: “Openings to another country, just to have an advantage over India, remain on the agenda.”

Last May, Nepal revised its map with new borders that showed some disputed areas within its territory, drawing strong criticism from New Delhi. Contested territories along the strategic Himalayan route, such as the Lipulekh Pass, have security implications for India because they could serve as points of Chinese incursion.

Nepalese politics have also been in flux since last December, when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli dissolved Parliament of the country and declared new polls just two years before the next general election. On February 23 of this year, the Supreme Court of Nepal declared the dissolution unconstitutional and re-established Parliament.

Despite calls for his resignation, Oli has not resigned. Meanwhile, the opposition parties have not opted for motions of censure or to form alliances among themselves to overthrow the Oli government. Some have even entered into power-sharing agreements with them.

The situation was further complicated with the Supreme Court ruling verdict on March 7, which suppressed the Communist Party of Nepal (NCP) and revived its original factions – the CPN-UML and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center).

Read also : Nepal’s last crisis and its unstable political history with 49 pm in 58 years

Nepal’s “convoluted constitution” to blame

Quoting an Indian journalist he did not name, Puri said Nepal’s “convoluted constitution” is to blame for the situation. “He has neither a first past the post system for his House of Representatives, nor a pure system of only proportional representation.”

He added: “It’s a system that tends not to be stable.”

In the first past the post or simple majority system, the candidate having obtained the greatest number of votes in a constituency is declared the winner. India uses this political system to elect members of Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Nepal follows a mixed parallel voting system.

In 2015, the country adopted a new constitution which made the republic a federal state. This too mandated that 60 percent of the representatives will be elected under a first past the post system, while the remaining 40 percent will be elected under the proportional representation system. In the latter system, the distribution of seats corresponds to the proportion of the total votes cast for each party.

Puri said that while proportional representation lends itself to some degree of inclusion, “inclusion is not on the agenda” in Nepal – “because of the way they treat the country’s ethnic groups. and those who have been historically disadvantaged “.

The new constitution was not well received by many ethnic groups because the percentage of seats in parliament under the proportional representation system was reduced when it entered into force.

The proportional representation system is known to have historically helped members of indigenous and lower caste groups get elected. In eastern Terai, Madhesi communities, ethnically and socially close to Indians across the border, also complained of being discriminated against by the Nepalese state.

“Institutionally, they [Nepal] made progress, but maybe the policy was not ready for it, ”Puri said.

During the event, SD Muni, professor emeritus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, also pointed out that women, although having a third party reservation seats at all three levels of government, were not satisfied with government policies.

For example, many took to the streets in February this year to demonstration a bill that requires women under 40 to obtain the consent of their male guardians to travel abroad.

(Edited by Rachel John)

Read also : Nepal must become self-sufficient. China’s undeclared trade blockade hurts Kathmandu

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