Tumbahangphe claims post of speaker

Kathmandu, January 10

Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe today met co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal and staked her claim to the post of speaker.

The post of speaker remains vacant since 1 October 2018, when Krishna Bahadur Mahara resigned after a female staffer at the Parliament Secretariat lodged an FIR saying Mahara attempted to rape her.

Media Expert at the Parliament Secretariat Shekhar Adhikari said Tumbahangphe told the co-chairs of the party that she had experience and qualification required for the post of speaker and she should be given a chance to contest for the post.

According to Adhikari, Oli and Dahal told the deputy speaker that they would discuss the issue in the party and let her know their decisions later, but she should be ready to accept their decisions as she was also a party member.

Oli and Dahal, however, have their own favourite candidates for the post of speaker. While Prime Minister Oli favours Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader of NCP Subas Chandra Nembang for the speaker’s post, Dahal favours Agni Prasad Sapkota.

Differences between PM Oli and Dahal over who should be the party’s candidate for the post of speaker have led to repeated postponement of the House of Representatives’ meeting.

Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dhamala said the HoR meet was postponed twice as the ruling NCP sought time to select its candidate for the speaker’s post, but they had not officially asked for more time till today. The next HoR meet has been scheduled for Sunday.

“If the HoR meeting is convened as per the schedule, there will be only one agenda of fixing the date and time for speaker’s election,” Dhamala said.

As per the constitutional provisions, the post of speaker and deputy speaker should go to two different parties and genders.

Once the NCP chooses its candidate for the speaker, Deputy Speaker Tumbahangphe will have to resign from her post to pave the way for the NCP candidate. Tumbahangphe could not be contacted for comments.