The recently concluded Constitutional Assembly (CA) has been historic in two ways. First, though not something to be proud of, it was the second election for the purpose of writing a constitution; and second, unprecedented proportion of voters participated in the election and exercised their rights. Followed by the successful election-day, vote counting in almost all the 240 constituencies – for the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system – have already started and results are coming out now.
The preliminary results, reported in media, shows that the final result would definitely be different from what was seen in the first CA election. Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (UML), which were second and third largest parties, are set to come out victorious this time. The UCPN (Maoist) have performed below-par then expected or predicted all across the country and are third in the race. As like the UCPN (Maoist), Terai based parties have also performed badly and seem to be submerged in the ‘other’ category while the election result is being displayed in different medium.
However, the results of the election and one party winning over the other is not a new phenomenon is democracy. Even in our neighborhood – India – we have seen parties moving in and out of the power continuously. In winning and losing lies the beauty of democracy. But, UCPN (Maoist) is far away from accepting this reality and have decided to walk-out from the vote counting venue appealing for an immediate halt in the election process, all across Nepal, claiming ‘rampant vote rigging and conspiracies from national and international forces’. The ongoing count which has been blamed to have not reflected popular hope and anticipation by the UCPN (Maoist) proves that they are yet to become democratic at heart.
In fact, it is frustrating to see such irresponsible behavior from UCPN (Maoist); a ‘successful’ election can’t turn to a ‘conspiracy’ in a matter of 24 hours. Pushpa Kamal Dahal remarks to go as far as boycotting CA is a shame and shows that they don’t have any respect for ‘mahan janata’ which once voted them to make the largest party. It seems like they can’t accept whatever result other than their victories. How can a party, so concerned about ‘marginalized, impoverished, outclassed, etc’ people of Nepal, can back out from the CA election process which have cost Nepal 17 thousands citizens, 4 valuable years and billions of rupees?
UCPN (Maoist), who have appealed to discard the election when they lagged behind to NC and CPN (UML), are already panicking and thus will, with full power, try to stop and possibly, derail the election process. Here comes the role of the Election Commission to make bold decisions when necessary and should keep counting the vote at any cost. The government, as ever, is expected to maintain peace and order. Also, the international communities, from the observations done yesterday, must show courage to speak-up about the fairness of the election and support the Election Commission if it sought for help. European Union (EU) claiming the election fair and peaceful in its preliminary report is a positive step ahead. Similarly, a large part of responsibility, remain in the hands of people, who, by any means have to calm down UCPN (Maoist) and make them look forward for another election to come next.
UCPN (Maoist) must trust self and still wait for the final results, including the one from Proportional Representation (PR) system to come out. They must realize that everything is not lost already and they still have other elections to fight for. Prachanda must recognize the unique opportunity presented – by time – for him to upgrade his stature from a party leader to the country’s leader and must accept his and the party’s failure; nobody’s de-grow in accepting loss. In fact, they have to learn from the Terai based parties who have proved to be better democratic when it comes to accepting almost similar slump in election results.
Most importantly, the wining parties should not bypass CPN – Maoist and even the UCPN (Maoist) and other small parties in constitution making process but at the same time should not succumb to any kind of intimidation at any cost. On the part of Maoists, they must know that the nation is tired of the terror tactics and rhetoric and are looking forward to some real progress. Accepting people’s verdict is good for UCPN (Maoist) if they want to remain in the political scene of Nepal or they will soon be history.