Deborah Healy, the Country Director for the National Democratic Institute in Nepal, co-wrote for the United States Institute for Peace a cogent and sophisticated analysis of Post-Election Nepal. Plenty of discussion arises from several issues explored.
The issue of concern for Opposition International is the all-too-familiar abdication by parties of being the Opposition. The situation arose in Nepal, as elsewhere, when no one party commands control of the parliament, 50 percent of MPs plus one. It sets off coalition talks among like-minded parties. Coalition building can be tricky first in reaching a coalition with enough numbers without “paying too much” for the support of another party. At the other end of the equation is the scenario when every party wants to be in on the spoils of Government. No party is left to be the Opposition. That scenario often arises in Africa where parties are not policy-based but elected agents of local tribal associations.
For the political scientist or engaged observer, game theory has often be used to explain the repeated auctions of support, complex repayment arrangements, and the likelihood of instability and defection. Nepal presents an intriguing laboratory for such analysis.
Meanwhile back in the real world of Parliament and Government, the instability of the coalition means greater costs to the treasury as the parties wheel ad deal for the highest return to themselves and to their supporters. Nepal with its chronic deficits on expenditures more defined by politics than broader social welfare goals.
All the more reason for a strong Opposition to exist!
Nepal stands out as a priority in the international invigoration of the constitutional status and political necessity of the Opposition as a core element of positive governance practice.
Good luck to the Nepal supporters of improved democratic performance and their wide circle of supporters and friends.
Deborah and her NDI colleagues have done them a service through their clear insights and concerns.