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Editorial: The opposition’s role in Parliament

Editorial: The opposition’s role in Parliament

Nepali Congress (NC) is demanding an investigation against Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Rabi Lamichhane for his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of cooperative funds. For the same reason, the main opposition party is pushing to form a probe panel, a move opposed by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli. Certainly, there are valid questions regarding Lamichhane’s involvement in the misuse of cooperative funds.

 However, the way the NC is acting after the formation of the new coalition is unusual. The party has just come out of a government that failed to deliver on service delivery and economic fronts. Home Minister Lamichhane has taken some positive steps, including implementing the report submitted by the committee formed to investigate gold smuggling. Similarly, he has pledged to minimize political influence in the Nepal Police and Armed Police Force. He should be allowed to work freely without pressure from parties. If he fails to fulfill his pledges, questions should be raised, but for some period, it would not be justifiable to obstruct him.

In a parliamentary system, the opposition party should allow the government to work for at least 100 days without obstructions. Obviously, the opposition party should work to hold the government accountable and raise people's concerns and plights, but that should be done constructively. Past experiences show that opposition parties often resort to obstructing Parliament to press the government to fulfill their demands. However, Parliament cannot engage in its key task of the law-making process if it is obstructed for a long time. As a grand old party and the largest in Parliament, the NC should not resort to obstructing Parliament. Instead, it should find innovative ways to raise its voices within Parliament.

The performance of parliament has been dismal over the past few years due to intra-party disputes. There is a long list of crucial bills in the Parliament Secretariat that have long awaited parliamentary endorsement. Some of them are very important and related to the party's international image and prestige, on which all parties should come together. The new coalition has come up with new commitments and visions, so the NC and other opposition parties should wait some time to see how the new government addresses the problems the country is facing today. The NC should think seriously about its role as an opposition party.