National Assembly election bill not listed in business schedule

Kathmandu, October 13

The Parliament could not pass the much awaited bill relating to election of National Assembly members due to differences among the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre. This means that the government will have to bring this law through ordinance after the term of the Parliament ends on October 14.

The Parliament Secretariat, could not list this bill in today’s business schedule as the big three parties continued to lock horns  over  whether the bill should be passed in the current form or whether the content should be changed to introduce single transferable vote system in the bill.

Medication Education Bill was also not listed  in the business schedule today  as  Nepali Congress , CPN-UML and CPN-MC continued to differ on some key contents of the bill. The government wants to address some key demands of Dr Govinda KC who has been on hunger strike for over a week now, but the CPN-MC and the UML opposes the government’s proposal.

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar held a meeting with the leaders of the major parties to encourage them to reach a compromise today  but parties stuck to their guns, said the speaker’s press advisor Babin Sharma.

The NC wants to incorporate single transferable vote system in the bill relating to election of  National Assembly members whereas the CPN-UML and CPN-MC want the bill to be passed in the current form that gives different weightage to members of Parliament  and  the members of provincial assemblies.

UML lawmaker Rambir Manadhar told THT that  the ruling parties were persuading other parties to go for single transferable vote system but that would deprive local representatives from their right to vote for the National Assembly members.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Ramhari Khatiwada, however,  said that the as the country was adopting proportional representation everywhere, the single transferable voting system was the best way to elect the members of the Upper House.

The Parliament, however,  passed bills   relating to Language Commission and pay and perks of Provincial Governors through a fast tract process. The House passed these   bills unanimously.

The bill relating to Language Commission has provisions which will enable the  commission  to identify all mother languages of the country and recommend other  language(s)  as official language(s).

The commission also authorised to recommend the ways to promote all the mother languages and  publish the  history of the languages.

Minister of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation Jitendra Narayan Dev had tabled a proposal in the House seeking passage of the bill.

Taking part in the debate,  lawmakers Dhaniram Paudel, Dilli Prasad Kafle, Laxman Rajbangshi, Prem Suwal, Hitraj Pandey and Shyam Kumar Shrestha (Kavre) opined that the commission should be formed with clear  mandate to promote  mother tongues. They also suggested that the bill should clearly define national languages and the Language Commission should have 11 members including at least three women members.

As per the bill relating to pay and perks of provincial governors, the governors will have 12 members in their private secretariats and governors will get a monthly salary of Rs 104,000, which also includes hospitality expenses.

As per Article 166  of the constitution, the governors are mandated to  administer the oath of office and secrecy to the  chief ministers.