Parliament set for session in a week after final election results

Kathmandu, February 12

The Parliament Secretariat has said it is ready to conduct the first meeting of the new Parliaments within seven days after the final parliamentary election results are announced.

According to Parliament Secretariat Spokesperson Bharat Raj Gautam, the secretariat has also started preparing an interim work, containing procedures related to swearing in of the senior most member of the newly elected House of Representatives and National Assembly and the process related to vote of confidence that the new prime minister will have to seek as per the constitutional provision.

Article 67 of the constitution states: The Prime Minister appointed under clause (2) or (3) shall obtain a vote of confidence from the House of Representatives no later than 30 days after the date of such appointment.

As the election produced a hung parliament, the possibility of formation of coalition government under clause (2) is very likely. This clause states that if no party secures a clear majority in the House of Representatives as per clause (1), the president should appoint a member of the House of Representatives who can garner majority with two or more parties representing in the House of Representatives the prime minister. “The interim procedure also contains provisions related to the first meeting of both Houses, election of speaker, deputy speaker as well as National Assembly chair and vice-chair.

The interim procedure however, must be passed by the first meeting of both Houses of the Parliament. According to Gautam, the procedure will be presented in the first meeting of the Houses, which will start simultaneously.

He also said preparations of the meeting halls of both Houses was almost completed. “We are yet to fix microphones and recording system in the Upper House, which will be done by Wednesday”, he added.

The secretariat is, however, facing many constraints regarding space management in the Houses. “Originally, the meeting halls of both Houses at the International Convention Centre were originally constructed for a different purpose, so we could not make everything as per the parliamentary tradition,” he added. He also said the secretariat was still undecided about the use of vacant rows in the House of Representatives. Nearly half the number of rows in the meeting hall will be vacant because of reduced number of lawmakers from 601 to 275. According to him, the setting of the hall can be changed after the election of the Speaker. “S/he may put forth the idea regarding the setting of the hall,” Gautam added.

The Parliament Secretariat has taken many references from policies and practices of the previous House of Representatives and National Assembly which were formed under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1990.

Parliament Secretary Birendra Bahadur Karki, who has the experience of working with those Houses, told THT that the procedures and decorum of Houses are almost similar to the bi-cameral Parliament. According to him, the basic difference is the number of lawmakers and the jurisdiction of the House. ‘

’Unlike the previous Parliament, the Houses now cannot raise all the issues. In fact, the Parliament will have to think if any issue is under absolute provincial jurisdiction or under concurrent lists of the centre and the provinces,” he added.