The Nepali Congress-led electoral alliance has made the country’s political stability a major electoral platform. In addition, the CPN (Maoist Centre), the second force in the coalition, affirmed that it would give priority to political stability.
Congress and Maoist leaders have accused the alliance’s main rival, the CPN-UML, and its leader, the KP Sharma Oli, of fomenting instability in the country by dissolving parliament twice.
However, many doubt the promise of Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, given his background.
After 10 years of insurrection, the Maoists had promised that the country would experience political stability. Several mergers and splits later and even after donning their latest avatar the Maoist Centre, the main intention of the Maoists seems to be for short-term gains in the power game.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the chairman of the Maoist party, accused of having sown instability in the country in recent years, said his party would be the third but decisive force after the elections. While saying this, he indicated that he will play a key role in the formation and dissolution of the government, experts say.
“Dahal’s claim that his party would be the third largest clearly hints at continued political instability,” said political analyst Rajesh Gautam. “In the mixed electoral system of direct and proportional representation, it is unlikely that one party will win the majority of seats in parliament.”
Former chief election commissioner Ayodhi Parsad Yadav echoed Gautam.
“The type of electoral system we find ourselves in will lead us to a hung parliament,” Yadav told the Post. “Political stability under the current electoral system will be unrealistic to claim.”
Dahal is often criticized for fostering political instability after the 2006 political change, as he frequently engaged in the formation and overthrow of governments. Dahal himself has publicly boasted of having played a key role in the formation and overthrow of various governments over the past decade.
Therefore, the ruling coalition’s commitment to political stability with Dahal as a major participant is questionable, observers say.
“When the Maoists, who did not believe in the parliamentary system, joined parliamentary politics to satisfy their interests, they fostered political instability by forging alliances with unnatural partners and always kept them engaged in power games. “said Mumaram Khanal, political analyst. who was a Maoist cadre during the uprising.
Dahal claimed leadership of the next government should the coalition win the election. Analysts believe that if the current coalition wins a majority in the elections, disagreements will start to emerge over who will lead the government, which will ultimately lead the country towards political uncertainty.
Although the Maoists took the lead in the first Constituent Assembly in 2008 with 229 seats out of the 601 Constituent Assembly members, it did not quite yield the expected political result. The then CPN-Maoist, the largest political party in the First Constituent Assembly, could not effectively lead the government. Dahal left the government nine months after taking office, following a dispute over his decision to sack the then army chief. Then, his party was relegated to third place in the second constituent assembly held in 2013, winning just 83 seats.
The Maoists helped KP Sharma Oli, the chairman of CPN-UML, become prime minister in 2015. They later withdrew their support from Oli and formed the government under the leadership of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the party chairman .
Subsequently, the Maoists helped Nepalese Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba to become prime minister. None of the governments served even for a full year.
Later, Oli returned as prime minister with Maoist support in the 2017 elections, when the two communist parties also forged an electoral alliance. Based on this alliance, they later merged the two parties and formed a unified Communist Party of Nepal which commanded nearly two-thirds of the parliament. But it didn’t last a full term either.
Oli’s government lasted until 2021 before the Maoists again withdrew their support and forged a new political alliance with Deuba, which allowed him to become Prime Minister. The arrangement continues to this day, and preparations are underway to fight the upcoming federal and provincial elections later this month, with the same alliance.
“The parliamentary system was not the one envisaged by the Maoist Center, they were forced to participate in the system,” said CK Lal, a political analyst. “So they did whatever benefited their party leaders within the system. Creating political instability has been one of their characters.
However, Peshal Khatiwada, a member of the central committee of the CPN (Maoist Centre), denies these allegations.
“It’s not the Maoist center that created the instability, it’s parliamentary democracy,” Khatiwada argued. “Risks of political instability will remain unless Nepal transitions to the presidential form of government.”
The party also promised a change of political system – from the current parliamentary democracy to a presidential system – in its election manifesto.