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To have their cake and eat it too

Upbeat one moment and glum the next, serving National Council members, of late, have been finding themselves frequently caught between the two extremes of temperament.

Initially, they were unsure whether they had to resign to re-contest for another term and forgo the end-of-term benefits, or take the benefits by serving until the end of their first term, but lose the chance for a second term.

Gradually, as the puzzle progressed, an interpretation of allowing existing members to re-contest while still in office was to them like being served bread with butter on both sides.

An official announcement of that interpretation was expected to emerge in His Majesty’s address during the opening and closing of the last parliamentary session that ended in early March.

What little hope council members clung to then was, however, dashed, when election commission officials recently issued an official notification, basically a reinforcement of what they had always maintained, that serving council members should resign to re-contest.

While a few serving council members had made their intent clear to re-contest before the notification was out, a few others decided so after.

What they had not said was whether they were considering resigning.

Most, however, continue to bide their time, perhaps until such a time that another announcement, one that would rescind the election commission’s and weave in with their initial fancy, to sit in office and re-contest.

The fact that there has been no such announcement so far should be a message strong enough that the election commission’s notification stands.

The commission is an important democratic and constitutional institution and any overriding of their decision would mean watching its credibility and authority wane.

The fact that most council members are waiting for some sort of a statement, which would nullify the election commission’s recent decision, is already a disregard of this important institution.

If this is how things stand today, imagine what will become of the commission in future and, for that matter, all other democratic institutions, which we believe have begun taking roots.

What precedent are we setting?  Do we stand by them or do we watch a mockery made out of them?

These are some of the issues our members of the council ought to bear in mind, than be too engrossed and concerned with affairs pertaining to their personal interests and gains, and risk missing the big picture.

Journalists from abroad, following the country’s developments closely as it nears another round of elections, already ask of the independence of many of the country’s democratic institutions.

We do not want to be caught lying, now do we?

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