Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Compromise

Unlike the takeover of King Mahendra where political parties were banned as "useless,"
King G. has made no such proclamation. It seems as though he is making overtones towards restoring democratic institutions as well. It occurs to blogdai that it was neither the idea of political parties nor the idea of democracy that King G. disliked: it was the people in charge.

During the last year, the political parties showed an almost uncanny inability to work through a problem diplomatically, democratically or in a spirit of compromise. They did, however, show a real aptitude for raising the level of general chaos in the streets. Whenever anything evolved that was politically contentious, Kathmandu residents could count on an immediate street protest sponsored by the offended party. Remember: Koirala, Nepal, Oli and others learned their political skills as student protesters back in the old days, so it is no surprise that they have real skill in organizing a protest. It escalated to the point that those of us living in Kathmandu during the last few years could count on at least one well-organized protest - full of shiny new banners and slogans - per week clogging up the streets.

So, here is the two-part compromise:

Restore Parliament and democratic institutions immediately.
This will let the world feel that their pressure on Nepal has worked and will get India (who is already starting to give in) to stop posing and posturing.

Make it a condition that no former party leader can hold political office.
Wipe the slate clean. Get rid of the old India-dependent guard and elect real citizens. Ban all former office holders and their family and friends from holding office. Take as long as is needed to develop a fully transparent election system with term-limits that elects those that truly represent of the wishes of the Nepali people. These people are out there, blogdai has seen and talked to them. It should now be their turn to lead. Blogdai can hear it now: "How can you ban anyone from running for office in a democracy?" You can't. But this is a time of correction. The King has established a stronger government oversight board in an attempt to correct the corrupt practices of the past. If you introduce strongly enforced term limits and make them retroactive to Koirala and his bunch then they would be prohibited from running again. Is this democratic? Probably not, but the idea is to eventually arrive at a functioning democracy rather than allow the reintroduction of those forces that led to its corruption.

There is an apparent reality throughout history. Democracies often cannot function without the occasional un-democratic correction. Consider the biggest un-democratic correction in history: The Patriot Act. Americans are asked to give up some fundamental freedoms in order to preserve their democracy. It has been said that democracy is a balance between the needs of the majority with the rights of the minority. Was there ever a majority concensus on enacting the Patriot Act?

To King G: reconsider your three-year rule and call it a three-year democracy reconstruction. Allow international monitors if you feel like it. Build real institutions in that time with real transparency and real citizen representation. You can still be in charge and go kill Maoists during that time. But think about it: you will be building a new democracy by learning from your past mistakes. Make it a true Nepali democracy, not some rose-colored fantasy based on simplistic Western ideology. Actively solicit the pompous opinions of the West, however. It will get them off your back and get them to give you more aid to fight the Maoists.



At 4:47 PM, March 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

have to say, you make the King sound like such a good ol' chap...
Hope that he is just 'restructuring' the whole political system and does not plan to devour the whole nation for his and his family's interests.

At 5:25 PM, March 08, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Yes, apologies for that. I've said on numerous occasions that I am no real fan of the King or his unruly spawn, but his current direction is justifiable - at least for the time being.

The period of international uproar and furor is winding down now, with most countries - India included - waiting to see what will happen under this king's rulership.

No one in the world community wanted to work with the past government as they set the international standard for corruption and inefficiency.

Abuses were rampant under the title of "democracy" prior to the king's takeover. I agree and hope that this "correction" is just and only that: a correction.

Blogdai will be really pissed if G. decides to make an autocratic, despotic play once this whole thing is over.


At 10:03 PM, March 08, 2005, Anonymous Felicity said...

I've followed your blog since Feb 2 and find it an interesting exercise in armchair musing.You've expended a lot of time analyzing but precious little time in offering viable steps towards a solution. That is the current challenge, not more analysis.

I'll offer a first step:
All Nepalis living abroad need to come home and invest their money, time and effort to bring peace and prosperity to the country. The only responses I've seen from the Nepali dispora have been press releases lamenting the King's action and the loss of civil rights. Dang it, 10 to 11,000 people have died during this conflict. Democracy is so far down the list of imperatives for the average Nepali that it is a joke.

Dalits are restricted from using water wells by other higher caste
groups, children are denied education, and subsistence standards of living are the norm outside the cities. Human dignity, full bellies, and literacy are required before Democracy would appear on the list of top twenty concerns.

The Maoist thugs took advantage of a situation where the populus was already in dire straits. Abyssmal economic disparity fertilizes the growth of radical groups. It wasn't corruption in Kathmandu or the inability of political parties to form a coalition; it was an environment of neglect that percipatated this mess.

An honest leader(s) must emerge to champion the people in the near term and insitute true Democray in the mid-term.

Where is Diogenese when we need him so desperately?

At 10:05 AM, March 11, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Is this the Felicity of the New Orleans Cafe'? -=blogdai

At 10:06 AM, March 11, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Is this the Felicity of the New Orleans Cafe'? -=blogdai

At 2:54 PM, April 05, 2005, Anonymous Dipesh said...

"Build real institutions in that time with real transparency and real citizen representation."

You make a good point, but I'll ask you again. How do you intend to go about doing it?


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