The threat to the integrity of parliament has receded with the unanimous Supreme Court decision to impose a stay order on the presidential decree to dissolve parliament.  The court has stated that it will give its final determination on December 7 after hearing the arguments for and against the constitutionality of the president’s actions more fully.  The National Peace Council welcomes this judicial decision that seeks to ensure that transitions will take place within the framework of the Rule of Law and the Constitution.

In the run up to the Supreme Court’s decision there were attempts made to speak of the people’s mandate as being superior to the provisions of the Constitution.  These arguments about the validity of the people’s mandate that seek to give the President the power to do anything were made in the public realm, and made to sound democratic, but were most dangerous in fact.  We believe that governance is a sober exercise within the Rule of Law and the Constitution.  We are happy that the Supreme Court’s decision has taken the conflict and debate regarding the Constitution out of the spurious realm of people’s mandate and electoral politics.

We further note that the Supreme Court determination is an interim order.  The breathing space that the court has allowed till its December 7 determination should be used to restore the confidence of people and the polity in the stability and continuity of government ministries and policies. We also urge the executive and legislative branches of government to act with restraint and not to aggravate the public misgivings and divisions generated as a result of their conflict.

In particular, personal antagonisms should not cloud the need for the President and Prime Minister to co-exist for the sake of maintaining future democratic governance in the country.  Failure to so will plunge the country into further instability. There is a need for basic conflict resolution principles to be followed, including respecting one’s opponent, not seeking to humiliate the other and finding a mutually acceptable solution in which the national interest is uppermost. The judicial verdict has set the political and legal framework for a solution but it is the relationship between people that leads to reconciliation.