NCP undecided on speaker

The next meeting of the HoR will publish the timetable for speaker election which will end in two days. One day for filing nominations, another for poll

Kathmandu, December 27

The Parliament Secretariat postponed the second meeting of the House of Representatives scheduled for today till January 1 as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Co-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal failed to pick their common candidate for the speaker.

The post of speaker remains vacant after Krishna Bahadur Mahara resigned from the post after he was accused of attempting to rape a female staffer of the Parliament Secretariat. Mahara is in judicial custody.

Spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat Dasharath Dhamala said the secretariat postponed the House meeting till January 1 as the ruling NCP demanded more time for picking its candidate for the speaker.

Dhamala said the next meeting of the HoR would publish the timetable for speaker election which will end in two days. The Parliament Secretariat will give one day to the members of the HoR to file their nominations for speaker and another to elect the new speaker.

Dahal wants somebody from the former CPN-MC faction to become the new speaker, according to a source close to Dahal. The source said although former Maoist leaders Agni Prasad Sapkota, Dev Prasad Gurung and Pampha Bhusal had shown keen interest for the post of speaker, there would be no dissent within the former Maoist camp if Dahal chose any leader from his camp.  “Dahal’s nomination will not be opposed by anybody within the former Maoist camp,” the source said.

The source added that there was lack of unanimity among former UML leaders about who should be their candidate for the speaker. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, however, wants Subas Chandra Nembang to become the speaker again. The source said that Dahal, who was supposed to hold formal talks with Oli yesterday about  the party’s candidate for the speaker,  could not do so as he did not return to the capital from Chitwan for some reasons.

Dahal returned to Kathmandu today but could not hold talks with Oli again as the PM underwent dialysis.

Asked why the ruling NCP was taking time to pick its candidate for the speaker, a senior leader close to Oli said the two leaders also had to decide which party the ruling NCP should support for the post of deputy speaker. Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe, who represented the former CPN-UML at the time of filing her candidacy, will have to resign if the NCP fielded its candidate for speaker as the constitution stipulates that the posts of speaker and deputy speaker should go to two different parties and genders.

Tumbahamphe could not be contacted for comments.

As NCP commands nearly two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, it can easily ensure victory of its candidate for speaker.

Nembang, who is former speaker, told THT that the parties should go for a candidate who could effectively run the House as the implementation of the constitution entered the final phase.