Koirala wishes for decentralized federalism
Feb 14, 2009, Look and Gaze Correspondent: What appears to be a huge shift from his earlier position, former Prime Minister of Nepal and President of the second largest party Nepali Congress, Girija Prasad Koirala spoke out his wish that he wants to see the country federalized as per the principle of "decentralization" which entails a considerable degree of central governance.
"We are good at what we have been doing so far" Koirala said, "the Parliamentary system of democracy is the most appropriate system for us. We failed in the past because we could not properly implement the decentralization policy, which led to serious dissatisfaction among people.
Referring to the Swedish federalism, which he says serves as the best model, Koirala stressed that Nepal will be better off adopting a decentralized governance under federal structure which entails central, regional and village level governments.
Warning the leaders about the dangers of federalism, Koirala said, "This is a tight rope walking, as there is the possibility of safely crossing the risk or falling in the middle", he said. "It can bring to us good results as well as bad ones". He, however, stressed on the need for unity among the political parties represented in the constituent assembly for walk down the tight rope for better results.
An old political hawk who witnessed coming and going of four dynastic kings and their constitutions, Koirala said the new constitution should be so simple and clear that a layperson like himself could understand it. National integrity and sovereignty should never be compromised at any cost, he added.
Koirala also expressed his disappointment over the Maoists tendency to go astray the agreed upon sets of actions set out while signing the 12-point understanding. "When students don't perform well, it is the teachers who are generally blamed", he cracked a joke indicating the Maoists' disobedience to their teacher. Koirala was speaking at an International Conference on Constitution Making in Nepal in Kathmandu. (By Kamal Raj Sigdel)