Political instability should be a good breeding ground for cartoons. But after 11 failed attempts at electing a new prime minister even cartoonists in Nepal are getting bored.
“I have done three cartoons on the issue, the last one was two weeks ago. I don’t think I will draw any more,” says Rabin Sayami, the 38-year-old cartoonist and art director of Republica and Nagarik dailies.
His feelings can be understood. The deadlocked prime ministerial election has become a joke and indifference seems to have replaced worry and anger as the dominant mood across Nepal.
The joke doing the rounds is on 10tanki and 11tanki replacing nautanki (drama—meaning the ninth round of voting to elect a new prime minister).
For those statistically inclined, news reports comparing how Nepal is attempting to beat Iraq as the country without a government for the longest duration are also appearing in dailies.
On October 1, Iraq overcame the earlier record set by Netherlands of being without a government for 207 days at a stretch in 1997.
The troubled nation is yet to form a government. Nepal completes 100 days without an effective government last Friday.
Taxi driver Bimal Magar agrees. The 33-year old is more concerned about visiting his family at Dhankuta in eastern Nepal for the coming Dashain festival than what’s happening inside the Constituent Assembly building.
The level of apathy was evident when nine lawmakers of Nepali Congress, the party of lone candidate Ram Chandra Poudel, stayed away from the ninth round of voting as they were busy with domestic chores.
For the record, Poudel lost his bid for the PM post for the 11th time on Thursday. He secured 104 votes in his favour—196 less than the number required for a win.
Boycotting of the process by Maoists, CPN-UML and the three party forum of Madhes-based parties continued. Only 145 of the total 601 lawmakers took part in Thursday’s voting.
Lawmakers will again attempt to break the impasse on October 10 in the 12th round of voting.