Former Dy Speaker Tumbahangphe appointed Law Minister

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has appointed former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Shivamaya Tumbahangphe as the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in his Cabinet.

Tumbahangphe will swear-in as the Law Minister at the Office of the President at 3:30pm and assume office today, PM Oli's press advisor Surya Thapa informed. The post was vacant after former Deputy Prime Minister, who was also the Law Minister, resigned alleging the government of dishonouring a previously reached agreement on the basis of which his party had decided to join the ruling coalition.

The former Deputy Speaker had made a claim for the Speaker's post but was instead asked to step down from her post by the ruling party leadership. As per constitutional provision, the speaker and its deputy must represent different parties and different genders. Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders, however, had their eyes set on two different candidates, both males, for the top post. She then tendered her resignation on January 20.

“I hope the political parties and leaders represented in this parliament agree with me when I say that inclusion and representation of all segments of society in upper tiers of the state will further and truly strengthen democracy," Tumbahangphe had said in her final speech.

The Speaker's post was vacant since former post holder Krishna Bahadur Mahara was arrested for his alleged involvement in an attempt-to-rape case.

Her appointment by the Oli government is being seen by many as a reward for allowing the party to retain the Speaker's post. Some are even questioning her earlier stance over her famous statement that came in the wake of her oust slamming the inherent roots of patriarchy in the political system.

Speaking at a press conference after she submitted her resignation, Tumbahanghpe had said deeply-rooted and institutionalised patriarchy could not end just by the efforts of a few individuals. “We threw away monarchy easily, but changing patriarchal mindset will certainly take some time and hard work."