Friday, 12 April, 2024

Intra-party Democracy

Some major political parties have recently concluded their national conventions, electing their new leadership. Their national congresses have bolstered their internal democracy and brought fresh faces into the leadership team. The ruling Nepali Congress, main opposition CPN-UML, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and CPN-ML had convened their national gatherings and elected their central leadership. These periodic events not only renewed the internal democracy of these parties but also gave positive message among the people that they are committed to democracy internally and externally. People and international community lauded the role of Nepali political parties for embracing inclusive democracy, republican setup and federalism with the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015 through the Constituent Assembly. At the national congresses of NC and UML, the party representatives of neighbouring countries India and China wished them for success of democratic system and efforts to achieve economic prosperity.

This time, the political parties held their internal polls from centre to the local levels in line with the federal structure. The creation of provincial level party organisations is new experiment for Nepali political parties which have been motors of socio-economic changes. This has indeed enhanced their democratic credentials in and outside the country. Their other shortcomings may be overlooked if they run the parties based on democratic methods and broader participatory approach. Periodic elections and selection of party leadership constitute key features of democratic parties. Democracy cannot function well when the political parties fail to conduct periodic conventions as per the law. The Constitution of Nepal states that the rules of the political parties must be democratic and their statutes must provide for election of each of the office-bearers of the party at the federal and provincial levels at least once in every five years. It is mandatory for the political parties to conclude their periodic conventions on time as per the federal set up of the constitution.

Similarly, it is also a mandatory provision that the political parties need to exercise inclusive representation as per the constitutional provision. The constitutional provision states that there must be a provision of such inclusive representation in its executive committees at various levels to reflect the diversity of Nepal. The constitution has stressed two major elements federal set-up and inclusion, which must be adopted and practiced at every structure and mechanism of the state. Through their conventions, political parties have started reorganising party structures in the spirit of inclusion so as to reflect unity in diversity. This marks good initiative of parties, further nourishing democracy and its sustainability. As the major stakeholders of democracy, the political parties should abide by the constitution and the rule of law. They are creators, designers and implementers of constitution. It is their duty to stick to constitutional provisions to evolve the nation into constitutional state. The conventions of the major political parties will be a milestone in advancing democracy and fulfilling the people’s aspirations. They need to translate their resolutions and commitments adopted during their national meetings. The public trust in them largely relies on their ability to match actions to words.