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Nepal waits for its Godot as political uncertainty persists

Utpal Parashar,KATHMANDU(HT): In his absurdist play Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett shows two characters Vladimir and Estrogen waiting endlessly in vain for the arrival of someone called Godot. The situation in Nepal, too, is somewhat similar with citizens waiting years on end for arrival of a New Nepal. Two months have passed since Nepal’s Constituent Assembly was dissolved for failing to draft the new constitution. But uncertainty about what lies ahead has not eased.

The caretaker Maoist-Madhesi coalition led by Baburam Bhattarai is still in place. And the opposition seeking his removal as precondition for resolution of the impasse is clueless on what to do.

Consensus among parties to constitute a unity government is elusive. As is any clarity on how the country would get its long-awaited constitution.

No one knows if the dissolved Constituent Assembly would be revived or fresh elections would be held. The nature of elections, whether it would be for Constituent Assembly or parliament, is also unknown.

With the July 22 deadline given by Election Commission to make 13 amendments in the interim constitution and other election-related laws elapsing, there are doubts when and how they will be held.

The commission had urged all parties to clear the hurdles so that it had 120 days to prepare for elections. But as we now know, the task is not as easy as had been assumed.

As no one had foreseen such a possibility, Nepal’s interim constitution doesn’t have any provision on electing the Constituent Assembly again. And since the Constituent Assembly (that doubled as parliament) has been dissolved, there’s no easy way to make the amendments.

Reports say the home ministry has prepared drafts of ordinances on amendments to be made to election laws. But it is unlikely they will get passed unless parties agree on elections and government.

Another round of “decisive talks” between the ruling parties and those in opposition on ways to end uncertainty began on Wednesday. Hopefully they will find the elusive consensus.

Or the wait could become endless and futile for Nepal as well.

Published Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 | 03:12 PM

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