Government Backbenchers and Opposition in Unsettled Political Environment: The Case of Nepal
Conventional democratic exercises without opposition are inconceivable. Such a government and opposition interface, which treats the latter as the government in waiting, is practiced in the parliamentary system. However, this has been altered beyond recognition in today’s liberal democracies. In Nepal, most changes are made in order to affect the existence of regimes rather than to pursue an evolutionary path to democratic development. Nepal is full of surprises and unexpected results. The end of monarchy, the metamorphosis of Maoist and other Left groups into liberal democratic exercises along with the agenda of federalism are the results of the “jump theory of politics,” showing a swing from one extreme to another. How is it possible to relate such uncertainties to the democratic process? The question of backbenchers does not arise in Nepal. Even backbenchers in a conventional sense have to validate the changes accepted by their respective parties’ leaders, and in a way they are responsible for this endorsement. The coalition politics which is a reality in the present context of mixed electoral systems (both proportional and first past the post) tends to erase the thin boundary between government and opposition. Even parliament does not function on the basis of strictly defined roles for government and opposition.