The other day, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba urged opposition leader and UML chair KP Sharma Oli to support the government in running the House of Representatives (HoR) business smoothly during a meeting at the latter’s residence at Balkot in Bhaktapur.
This is the first time the Prime Minister and opposition leader held one-to-one parley after the present government came into existence. Deuba called on Oli as per the decision of the high-level coordination committee involving the ruling parties. The committee had asked Deuba to meet Oli and urge him help resolve the House impasse. The communication between the PM and the opposition leader is a good start in the direction of ending the deadlock. The parliament is the highest people’s elected body that discusses and sorts out the problems facing the people. Prolonged obstruction in the House gives a negative message about the parties and their policies in the country. Such a rigid posture of opposition may make the federal republican system dysfunctional and get the people disenchanted.
Multiparty democratic system requires minimum understanding among the key political actors. Democracy thrives and deepens if the political parties forge consensus on its fundamental principles, norms and values essential to operate the system and deliver goods and services to the people. Misunderstanding and confrontation between and among the parties has negative repercussions on the system installed with the joint struggle of parties and people. Nepal’s democratic movements and revolutions testify the fact that the parties have achieved success when they collectively fight for the common cause, keeping their differences aside. When they quarrel for power, post and perks, the system suffers and people’s hopes for better living standards and prosperity are dashed.
Nepal’s federal republican set-up and mixed electoral system demand sound working relations among the parties no matter which party has the largest number of seats in the parliament. Their understanding is crucial to make sure that three organs of states - legislature, executive and judiciary – act as per the principle of separation of powers. Similarly, it has highlighted the role of opposition that is expected to play constructive role. It primarily keeps an eye on the government’s activities and should point out its shortcomings if any, thereby making it accountable to the people. A responsible opposition forms an important component in our federal system adopted through the promulgation of new constitution in 2015. But when the opposition forgets its duty and often disrupts parliamentary proceedings, the entire state apparatuses fail to work effectively.
The main opposition CPN-UML has been obstructing the House business since the formation of this coalition government in July last year. It has been demanding that the Speaker remove its expelled 14 lawmakers who had backed to create Deuba-led five-party coalition government in the wake of the dissolution of the HoR for the second time in last May. In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court ordered to appoint Deuba as the new PM. After the formation of the new government, the UML has been obstructing the proceedings of the parliament. As a result, many vital Bills are waiting for their passage. The country is in the urgent need of framing laws to implement federalism and manage other affairs of the state and it is essential for the parliament to complete its legislative tasks without delays.