Vote Results Reveals Mindset of Nepali Youths

Subodh Raj Pyakurel, chairperson of INSEC provision, and the former vice-chairperson of the Planning Commission. He contributed five decades of his life to the Nepal Human Rights and Social Justice Campaign. Pyakurel believes that improving the Nepal Workers Administration can help citizens live with dignity. He had a meaningful conversation about the general election with Mr. Ramesh Prasad Timilsina, the editor of INSEC online.

What is the main message of the General election of 2079?

The significant and progressive aspect of this election was 24 percent of the voters were new. The emotions and perspectives of young voters contributed to the outcome of the election. Now, the vote result has revealed the mindset of young people in Nepal. First, the strongest aspect of this election was the engagement of young voters.

Secondly, it has provided spaces for the established and mature parties to learn about the current voter’s perspective. Furthermore, newly established political parties have raised issues that resonate with the public. Nominees are raising issues regarding bureaucratic corruption in Nepal. I have witnessed a candidate saying, ‘What sort of country is this, where I have to provide commissions to civil service officers, even when I am paying my tax?’ In general, the candidates who made it clear about good governance and stood up against corruption were the ones who got a remarkable amount of votes.

Are there any other messages you would like to convey?

Force and abrupt changes bring unprofitable results. In this context, despite the decision of the Supreme Court, the provision for ‘No Vote’ was absent in this election. This resulted in the ‘No Not Again’ campaign, which played a remarkable role in the election. Furthermore, migrant workers and citizens who have migrated outside of Nepal were deprived of their right to vote. The political parties would have been able to cater to those individuals and convey their philosophy and messages to the excluded demographic.

Election, in a practical sense, is a foundation for a political organization. It provides a platform for political parties to convey party rules to promote, principles and thoughts to the public. However, the current election observed parties arguing amongst one another to prove who is better in comparison. The candidates considered themselves to be the absolute ruler and they considered the voters as the governed. Political parties focused on material promises to the voters. However, they failed to assure the voters by addressing and supporting their values, principles, and priorities. Nobody said that they would live up to their role and responsibilities and fulfill the voter’s agenda. The candidates should have questioned if they could function as a mediator between the voters and the state.

The general concern of Nepali citizens is to protect their dignity.  However, the behavior civil service workers and the public representative show toward a common person, in government offices, is far from satisfactory. Dignity has become a burning issue among citizens these days and words cannot describe their concern in a comprehensive manner. The bureaucracy of the government abducts the dignity of a common person repeatedly. Despite that, the manifesto of any political party does not address this issue.

The discourse involved some sentiments of good governance but the language of the discourse was devoid of the sentiments of dignity. During the first world war, Walter Levin said that the general public only understands simple solutions to problems.

Both elections and politics seem to be the same thing. What is politics eventually for?

Politics should be for the dignity of citizens, promoting their independence and making them aware. It should be for establishing leadership in people. Politics should be for organizing citizens. Ensuring a win at any cost is not politics. Some candidates might win because of their caste background, some because of their wealth, and some win by use of force. Maybe distributing tickets by peeking into the possibility of wins of the candidates might also ensure the win for a party. There is a difference between winning an election and winning the election in a legitimate manner. If all members of Parliament are considered to be equal and have the same power, then why are the names of the majority members not prominent? The election has provided the criteria to analyze the power yielded by the members of parliament.

What is the simplest way to make elections clean?

In order to make the election clean, the government should give the authority of election peace and security to the Election Commission along with the sole decision-making authority. They can include a provision that requires consultation with an expert during the decision-making process. Healthy discussions with civil society, political parties, bureaucracy, and various government agencies can be done.