Nepal | July 20, 2019

NA election ordinance at centre of dispute

Rewati Sapkota

A view of the Presidential Palace at Maharajgunj in Kathmandu, as captured on May 1, 2017. Photo: RSS/ File

Kathmandu, December 16

The ordinance related to National Assembly elections, which is awaiting the president’s endorsement, is at the centre of the ongoing dispute among political parties.

While Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba accuses the CPN-UML of influencing President Bidhya Devi Bhandari against endorsing the ordinance, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli says the ordinance is against the constitutional provision so it should be withdrawn and a new ordinance forwarded to the president.

Both Oli and Deuba are consulting legal experts on the issue.

According to advocate Tika Ram Bhattarai, who met Oli today, the new government could be formed ahead of the National Assembly election.

“We have done the same in the past as well. Prime Minister Deuba is promoting undemocratic culture by not allowing the formation of the new government,” Bhattarai quoted UML Chief Oli as saying during his meeting.

On the other hand, during his meeting with CPN MC Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the PM said the ordinance was stuck in the Office of the President due to the UML’s influence, said PM Deuba’s Press Coordinator Govinda Pariyar.

“The president should endorse the ordinance as soon as possible,” Pariyar quoted Deuba as saying. “Endorsement of the ordinance will pave the way for National Assembly election. I am ready to quit the post of prime minister as soon as the National Assembly election is over.”

According to Pariyar, legal experts have advised PM Deuba that the president could not hold the ordinance for long and it would not be possible for the new House of Representatives to take shape until the National Assembly was formed.

Under pressure, the president is also holding consultations with political leaders and constitutional experts.

CPN MC Chairman Dahal today met the president. Oli met the president yesterday to discuss the same issue and PM Deuba had met the president on Thursday.

The Deuba-led government had sent a National Assembly Members Election Ordinance Bill to the president, proposing single transferable vote system that gives opposition parties a chance to get their members elected to the upper house.

However, the UML is in favour  of holding elections for the upper house on the basis of the FPTP model that would give it an advantage, as majority of elected representatives in the local levels and provinces — the electorate for NA polls — were from the alliance.

According to article 86 of the constitution, the president will have to call the first meeting of the Federal Parliament, including the National Assembly, within 30 days after the final election results are announced.

Dahal has requested both PM Deuba and Oli to cooperate for the sake of national interest.

Dahal met Deuba and the president today. He had met Oli yesterday regarding the same issue.

According to senior CPN MC leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who held a meeting with Oli last night, the constitution does not prevent formation of the new government ahead of National Assembly election.

The UML and the CPN Maoist Centre have started homework on forming a government under Article 76 (2), which provisions formation of coalition government.

During his meeting with the PM, Dahal requested the former not to make political appointments, including provincial governors, without political consensus, according to Dahal’s close aide Jokha Bahadur Mahara.

A version of this article appears in print on December 17, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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