Oli, Dahal tussle over candidate for speaker affects HoR meeting

Kathmandu, January 4

Differences continue to persist between the two co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) — KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal — over who should be the party’s candidate for  House of Representatives speaker with Oli throwing his weight behind Subas Chandra Nembang and Dahal trying to pick Agni Prasad Sapkota for the job.

The tussle between Oli and Dahal over the party’s candidate for speaker has led to repeated postponement of the House of Representatives meeting. The HoR will publish programmes for speaker’s election once the two co-chairs decide on the candidate.

As per the constitutional provision, the post of speaker and deputy speaker should go to two different parties and genders.

As the NCP has claimed the post of speaker, it will have to secure resignation of Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe, who had contested the election as a lawmaker of the former CPN-UML that later merged with the CPN-MC to create the NCP.

Tumbahangphe told THT that she had not been consulted by the ruling party’s leaders and she would resign from the post of deputy speaker only when the HoR announced the election programme.

A source close to Dahal said leaders who came from the former CPN-UML were telling Tumbahangphe not to resign till the party chose PM Oli’s pick and that might complicate Dahal’s bid to get Sapkota selected as the party’s candidate for speaker.

Another source said Dahal would continue to throw his weight behind Sapkota till the last hour because doing so was important for him to give the impression to party cadres associated with the CPN-MC before the merger of the party with the CPN-UML that former Maoist leaders were not overlooked in the party. “Dahal wants to respect the feelings of party cadres who want respectable division of power and allocation of constitutional posts between the two camps. It is natural for Dahal to pick his candidate for the speaker because all other key positions — president, prime minister and chair of National Assembly — have gone to former UML leaders,” the source added.

NCP leader Subas Chandra Nembang said he had no comment on who the two co-chairs would select. “My only concern is that the party should have named its candidate much earlier. The party must take a call before the next HoR meeting so that the House can announce the election programme,” Nembang said. The next meeting of the HoR is scheduled for January 12.