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Editorial: Wake up, parliament

Editorial: Wake up, parliament
What is the main task of a parliament? Here, we are not talking about an assembly of some nocturnal creatures. We are talking about an organ of the state consisting of elected representatives of the people. We are talking about a sovereign body that represents the will of the people expressed through adult franchise.

Worldwide, parliaments worth their names do one major thing. They make laws.

But Nepal’s parliament is emerging as an exception. For years, a chronic disease has been ailing the parliament, preventing it from functioning properly. Crucial Bills getting nowhere attest to this sorry state of affairs. The Truth and Reconciliation Bill is a case in point and so is the Anti-money Laundering Bill. The failure to get the TRC Bill through the parliament is tantamount to denying justice for the victims of the decade-long insurgency. It does not enhance Nepal’s image in international fora like the United Nations. There is another cause for alarm also. Recent reports suggest that Nepal faces graylisting for failing to introduce and enforce laws against money-laundering. At a time when the national economy is not in the pink of health, the government should have presented this crucial Bill without further delay as graylisting will hit Nepal’s domestic and international business transactions hard. The presidential election, the upcoming vice-presidential vote, the vote of confidence and the ongoing dispute over the opposition party have consumed much of our lawmakers’ energies. It is the responsibility of a government to give business to the parliament. The government should wake up to this responsibility and work in close coordination with political parties across the aisle for the passage of crucial Bills and a smooth functioning of the parliament. Otherwise, there are chances of a relapse into the Ordinance Raaj where governments used to rule through ordinances after failing to have their way in the parliament. This time, chances are that such a rule may not be a smooth sailing, given the international outcry against TRC Bill and Anti-Money Laundering Bill. The government and the parliament should wake up and act before it’s too late.