Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to be among this distinguished audience at the 26th Standing Committee Meeting of international Conference of Asian Political Parties and 1st Trilateral Meeting among the ICAPP Standing Committee, COPPPAL Coordinating Body and CAPP Executive Committee in this historic city of Jakarta.
I would like to express my gratitude to His Excellency Mr. JokoWidodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia for his presence at the inaugural session of this conference and for his inspiring address that has set the tone for our deliberations.
I would also like to express the sincere thanks of my delegation to our host for their generous hospitality and alsofor making excellent arrangements for this meeting.
The selection of the theme for our meeting the “role of political parties in enhancing democracy for the benefit of people’s welfare,”istimely and relevant.
Political parties constitute an integral part of democratic system of governance. Political parties are an indispensible link between people and the representative machinery of government. No democratic system can be envisaged without the role of political parties in advancing the political process, linking the people and governance on a daily basis.
Political parties are an institution. They are the torchbearer of freedom, democracy, and human rights. They have a significant role to play in democratizing and constitutionalizing governance at various levels. As political parties work through people’s organizations, they provide an atmosphere for a feeling of ownership in development process. Such an ownership and togetherness is a perquisite for strengthening the roots of inclusive nationalism.
Political parties help enhance democracy as a system of the rule of law. Democracy has inbuilt system of checks and balances which prevents the use of unaccountable powers. Democracy gives voice to voiceless. It reflects the aspirations of the people about their expectations. Political parties are best instruments fororder and stability and remain main elements of a healthy state of political life.
Asia is a region of huge diversity. Unity in diversity has been strength and identity of this region. We can best promote national unity and reconciliation in such a diverse setting within a democratic framework. Democracy has proved to be the best means of reconciling the irreconcilable differences in diverse societies like ours.
I firmly believe that democracy is indispensible for development. Democratic process ensures the proper management of resources and their equitable distribution for the benefit of people’s welfare. Development becomes sustainable, inclusive, and broad based for people’s welfare only if development process is pursued within an overall democratic framework in which people are at the center of process.
Let me briefly touch about the political parties in Nepal.
Nepal has undergone a historic transformational agenda since 2006. Having ended the decade long Maoist armed conflict through the initiative of political parties in a peaceful manner in 2006, Nepal moved from monarchy to republic, and unitary system of governance to federal system of governance. Political parties came together in Nepal to end the violence and work together for peace, stability, democracy, and development in the country. Then Nepali Congress Party President & Prime Minister GP Koirala who was architect of Nepal’s peace process, said and I quote “Parties could have different principles, but they can stand together for national sovereignty, democracy, human
rights, and to stop the ongoing bloodshed.” It was the unity of parties that rescued Nepal from “the arms of the Maoists” and’the dictatorial designs of the King’ which were lethalto democracy, country and the people.
It was the unity of the political parties that compelled the authoritarian king to surrender to people’s power and pave the way for democracy. The larger feeling for the nation and the people guided the political parties of extremely opposed ideologiesin Nepal to come together, work together for national unity and reconciliation, and write an inclusive constitution of a federal democratic republic. Political parties in Nepal displayed unity to have this constitution promulgated through an elected Constituent Assembly.
We consider the inclusive politics as key to the task of building the culture of peace, stability and prosperity. It is with this view that Nepal has ensured 33% of women representation in Parliament and government apparatus under the new constitution.
Democracy is indispensible to strengthen the process of empowering all sections and regions in a country. Nepal’s first elected government led by my party Nepali Congress in 1959 was fully reflective of our diversity that also included womanas a cabinet minister. Setbacks to democracy in Nepal in 1960 halted the process of empowering women and marginalized groups in the country through inclusionary governance.
The Constitution written by people’s representatives and promulgated through the Constituent Assembly last September guarantees fundamental human rights and provides affirmative actions for groups who have remained disadvantaged, downtrodden and marginalized sections of society. Nepal’s Constitution provides independent constitutional commissions to work fortheir empowerment.
We consider people as the most important factor for change and development. Development works better and in a broad based manner when people are at the center of development process. People’s interests and wishes are best articulated through people’s institutions. We are working to have people’s institutions created at village levels through elections. We believe this will help create local leadership to attend and address people’s problems and grievances better on a daily basis and pursue development works.
With these words, I would like again like to underline the need forour honest and sincere commitment in making democracy listen to the people and work for their welfare.Political parties are the best means to realize that vision and commitment.
Thank you very much for kind attention.