PM agrees to withdraw controversial ordinance


Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has agreed to withdraw the ordinance issued yesterday to amend the Constitutional Council Act in exchange for the withdrawal of a petition prepared by the faction of the party led by Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal seeking special session of the Parliament.

NCP lawmakers Bhim Rawal and Pampha Bhusal had gone to the president’s office to register their petition.

With the new agreement, Oli and Dahal, who have been embroiled in intra-party feud for weeks, have lowered their rhetoric against each other, but they have not yet buried their hatchet.

Oli attended the Standing Committee meeting today after both sides reached a truce.

NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the PM told the Standing Committee meeting that the Constitutional Council meeting convened yesterday as per the new ordinance had not taken any decision.

Constitutional Council is the key body that recommends names for appointment to constitutional bodies. Shrestha said the Standing Committee also decided to hold its next meeting on December 20 and Central Committee meeting on December 25. Earlier, the Standing Committee had scheduled Central Committee meeting for December 20.

Although some major online portals reported that both chairmen had agreed to withdraw their proposals, Shrestha said today’s Standing Committee meeting did not even discuss the withdrawal of the two proposals.

NCP deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Chandra Nembang, who is close to Oli, said although Oli had told Dahal before the Standing Committee meeting that both proposals should be withdrawn, no understanding was reached on the issue today. He added that understanding reached between the two NCP chairs was a good start and could pave the way for more such pacts.

Oli and Dahal have four days to hold one-on-one talks before the next Standing Committee meeting. Dahal’s 19-page proposal levelling serious allegations against the PM and Oli’s 38-page rebuttal will be discusses in the next meeting.

The Oli faction has been saying that both proposals should be withdrawn and differences should be resolved on the basis of Standing Committee decision taken on September 11.

On September 11, the Standing Committee had decided that the PM would have free hand in the day-to-day government affairs, whereas Dahal would act as executive chairman of the party. Dahal has accused Oli of not allowing him to work as the executive chairman of the party.

A Standing Committee member told THT that lowering of rhetoric by the two sides indicated that there could be a new agreement around the September 11 decisions, but Dahal’s role and responsibility as the executive chair would be defined clearly so that Oli could not interfere in his work.

If a clear division of work between the two chairmen is not achieved, then the tussle between the two sides would continue.

“That means that when one faction takes a decision, the other will take steps to counter it as happened in the ordinance episode,” the Standing Committee member said.

The intra-party feud deepened in the ruling party after Dahal accused the PM of failing to run the government, defying party norms and decisions and making political appointments to constitutional bodies without consulting party leaders. In his rebuttal, Oli accused Dahal of showing lust for power and promoting factionalism in the party.

The PM had brought the ordinance because he thought that Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota was boycotting the Constitutional Council meeting at the behest of the Dahal faction.

The PM, who had refused to attend the Standing Committee meeting, held discussions with Dahal twice today and agreed to participate in the Standing Committee meeting.