Nepali Congress, Maoist get lawyers' nod on govt formation

KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress and CPN Maoist Centre, which are preparing to topple the incumbent CPN-UML-led government through a no-confidence vote and form a new one, on Saturday consulted layers and constitutional experts to check if there is any legal complication in the process.

Top leaders of both parties including NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN MC Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had met the legal experts at the NC Parliamentary Office in Singha Darbar for around two hours this morning.

The meeting had taken place against the backdrop that some lawyers have been airing views that forming the new government before electing a new House of Representatives through a fresh elections might be quite complex as the Constitution has not imagined more than one government in the transitional period between the Constitution promulgated and the first election to the House of Representatives.

However, the lawyers consulted today told the parties that the Article 298 under the chapter of the Transitional Provisions of the Constitution still can be applied in order to form the government before the nation holds the election to the House of Representatives as stated in the Constitution promulgated last year.

Lawyers present in the meeting included Surya Dhungel, Purna Man Shakya, Harihar Dahal, Madhav Banskota, Prem Bahadur Khadka, Sher Bahadur KC, Sunil Pokharel and Raman Shrestha among others.

The suggestion apparently contradicts claim of other lawyers who argue that the Article cannot be applied again as it categorically mentions that the transitional government should be formed within seven days from the date of the commencement of the Constitution if the Parliament is not in recess, or within seven days from the date of commencement of the Parliament session if the Parliament is in recess.

They argued that neither can the Article 76, which has provisions on constitution of Council of Ministers from the House of Representatives, be applied as election to the House of Representatives has not been held.

298. Provisions relating to formation of Council of Ministers:

(1) The Council of Ministers existing at the time of commencement of this Constitution shall continue to exist until the Council of Ministers set forth in clause (2) is formed. 

(2) The Prime Minister shall, on the basis of political understanding, be elected no later than seven days after the date of the commencement of this Constitution where the Legislature-Parliament is not in recess at the time of commencement of this Constitution, and after the date on which the session of the Legislature-Parliament summoned in accordance with clause (6) of Article 296 commences where the Legislature-Parliament is in recess, and a Council of Ministers shall be formed under his or her chairpersonship. 

(3) In the event of failure to have an understanding under clause (2), the Prime Minister shall be elected by a majority of all the then members of the Legislature-Parliament.