The incumbent Sher Bahadur Deuba-led five-party coalition government is essentially a caretaker dispensation, as the country just conducted the elections to federal parliament and provincial assemblies. In this interregnum period, it has no authority to take any big decision. But Deuba has gone on to issue an ordinance that allows the government to scrap the so-called political cases—both sub-judice and adjudicated ones.
The only job of the current government is to facilitate smooth transition of power. It’s clear to see where this ordinance came from and to what end. As the five-party coalition, led by the Nepali Congress, could not muster a majority in the Nov 20 polls, it will need the support of fringe parties to form a government.
This is where the ordinance comes in. It was issued with a purpose of freeing Resham Lal Chaudhary, a former lawmaker and leader of Nagarik Unmukti Party, who is currently in prison after being convicted of orchestrating the 2015 Kailali massacre, where eight people including a toddler lost their lives.
Chaudhary’s party has won three seats in federal parliament, and the five-party coalition needs just two seats to secure a majority. The ordinance was brought to woo the newly elected lawmakers of Nagarik Unmukti Party.
This transitional government has overstepped its jurisdiction by issuing the controversial ordinance. The important thing to bear in mind here is that the newly elected members of the House of Representatives (HoR) have yet to hold the first meeting.
Before entering into its main business of lawmaking, the HoR will have to elect a new prime minister, president, deputy president, speaker, and deputy speaker. The new government will take shape accordingly. Even if the five-party coalition were to form the next government, this is a bad beginning in many ways. The move clearly demonstrates that the parties are not ready to mend their ways.
In the past five years, parties in power largely bypassed the parliament and tried to run the country through ordinances. They seem to be headed towards the same path all over again. The recently concluded elections have clearly shown that people’s faith and trust in mainstream political parties are fast eroding. The emergence of new political parties should have served as a warning to them. But apparently, it didn’t.