July 21, 2024, Sunday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Race for Head of State

The Nepal Weekly
January 31, 2023

That the current Prime Minister and two former PMs are so keen in getting their own men or women win the election for Head of State this time demonstrates not the strength but weakness of Nepali politics. All the three consider it highly important for their political future to have a president comfortable to their personal ambitions. Although the Head of State is ceremonial, he or she plays important role in certain circumstances. History, although short experiment with only two Presidents in the Sheetal Niwas, offers valuable lessons on how presidential steps check or facilitate the Head of Government to move on with his political scheme. All three leaders – PM Dahal, Oli and Deuba – have learnt the lesson well. That is why they want their person in the highest seat in the country.  The narratives forwarded in this regard from the trio are rather interesting: PM Dahal stands for national consensus for presidential candidate; the voice is being spread by leaders of Maoist Centre; Oli accepts nothing but his party’s candidate for the high post as agreed prior to formation of the current ruling alliance; Deuba justifies his claim for NC candidate pointing out the need for avoiding any leftist move against the longevity of the current parliament as experienced earlier. All face challenges to their standpoint for various reasons: excluding NC could invite disruption in parliamentary process; sidelining CPN UML could be risky for continuation of the current multi-party coalition; the proposal for national consensus candidate, although great and ideal, cannot impress NC and CPN UML. Moreover the issue of national consensus candidate could trigger break-up of the current coalition. Prime Minister Dahal, although well placed in Singha Durbar with super majority in parliament, fears such situation would render him politically vulnerable. His switch over to NC for avoiding vulnerability would not be helpful for boosting his image. In the midst of such political mess, the real candidates for President are not in talk until now. What their faces will be is what is not known to anybody and that is not part of conversation on election for president. The narrative for nonpolitical candidate for the high seat of President is by itself weak. How can a president be a custodian of constitution without having ability to sense and understand the game and tricks politicos play for their gains and for defeating their competitors in politics? How the search for a president comfortable to the PM will end is what all are looking for at present. All wish for a positive and constructive way out in the broad interest of political stability.