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Prez shall do no wrong

Prez shall do no wrong
The Constitution of Nepal has envisaged the President as the symbol of national unity, the defender and protector of national unity. But have the holders of the highest office been able to live up to these provisions? Some serious soul-searching has become necessary, in light of the fact that the two Presidents have courted their share of controversies, fair or otherwise. While they had a golden opportunity to preside over a country transitioning from a unitary system to federalism by becoming the protector and the defender of the Charter and a true symbol of national unity, they faced charges of failing to rise above partisan interests and even intruding into the domain of the executive and the legislative.

This does not mean that the first citizen of the country should keep mum even when the executive, powered by a majority in the parliament, tramples on civil liberties and attacks the very tenets of democracy. The institution should not only play by the rules, but should also be seen as doing the same, to retain public faith in the new system.

There are ample examples from the neighborhood and beyond of political figures rising above petty interests and steering a country in transition. So, the argument that a political figure cannot be a true symbol of national unity cannot be entirely true, to say the least. The onus is on the third President to learn lessons from the predecessors and best practices in the neighborhood and much beyond. Only by rising above petty interests and adhering to the Charter in its letter and spirit can the head of state earn moral authority to make the executive and the legislature stay within their respective bounds. Only by staying away from controversies can the institution transform into a symbol of national unity. This is especially important at a time when certain forces are yearning for olden days and olden days. Their voices will only get stronger if the political system of the day fails to deliver. As the guardian of the Constitution and the country, the President should be able to instill faith in the new system of governance, especially at a time when it is at its lowest lows. The onus is on the President of Nepal to do no wrong, for the sake of the country, the people and the longevity of the system.