Constitutional Council meeting commences sans attendance of opposition leader, speaker

KATHMANDU: The meeting of constitutional council has begun in Baluwatar in attendance of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana and Chair of the National Assembly Ganesh Timilsina.

However, leader of main opposition Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba and Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Sapkota did not attend the meeting.

The meeting was rescheduled to 5 pm after the council could not proceed in lack of quorum following Speaker Sapkota's absence in the meeting scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Although leader of the opposition was present at the morning-meet, Deuba later clarified that the NC was against this unconstitutional move and would not attend the council.

Later in the day, President Bidya Devi Bhandari on recommendation of the Council of Ministers promulgated an ordinance to amend the existing Constitutional Council (Functions, Duties, Powers and Procedures). Following the introduction of the new ordinance, the Council was authorised to convene and make decisions in attendance of three members.

Prior to the introduction of the new act, at least five of the six members must have been present in the meeting for any decision to be made.

The post of deputy speaker is vacant in the six-member Council at present as parties have failed to elect a new deputy speaker.

As such, the ongoing meeting of the Constitutional Council in presence of PM Oli, CJ Rana and NA chair Ganesh Timilsina can appoint members in near four dozen constitutional posts that remain vacant.

The ruling party, the main opposition party and even the warring factions within the ruling party have been unable to fill these position in lack of consensus.

With the recent developments, it can be expected that the existing rift between dissenting sides in the ruling party will widen further.