Speaker election on January 26

Kathmandu, January 20

A meeting of the House of Representatives chaired by Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Mahanta Thakur today announced that the HoR speaker would be elected on January 26.

Thakur chaired the meeting as the senior-most lawmaker after Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe tendered her resignation to the Parliament Secretariat. She announced her resignation in a separate meeting held earlier in the day.

The central secretariat of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) had yesterday decided to nominate Agni Prasad Sapkota as the candidate for the HoR speaker. This decision forced Tumbahangphe to resign as the constitution does not allow appointment of speaker and deputy speaker from the same party.

The latest developments end the months-long impasse due to delay on the part of NCP co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal in deciding a candidate for the speaker’s post. The delay was as Oli and Dahal favoured different candidates.

While Oli was in favour of former speaker Subas Chandra Nembang, Dahal was under pressure from his former CPN-MC colleagues not to forego the speaker’s post they were allocated before they merged with the former CPN-UML to form the NCP.

The delay also forced postponement of the HoR meeting thrice this Bill Session that kicked off on December 20.

With the announcement of date for speaker election, the Parliament Secretariat this evening published the schedule for the election.

As per the schedule, nominations for the post will be filed tomorrow from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

As per the process of filing nominations, a member of the HoR will register a proposal notice in the Parliament Secretariat that another member be appointed as speaker. The same day, the Parliament Secretariat will publish the list of candidature notices at 2:30 pm.

On January 26, the lawmaker registering the proposal will again propose in the HoR that the particular HoR member be appointed speaker, while another lawmaker will support the proposal. The House will then discuss the candidature notices and the candidature proposals will be presented in the House for voting.

If the first proposal garners two-thirds majority, rest of the proposals will not be presented for voting. If there’s only one proposal, the House will announce unanimous election of the speaker.

Other political parties represented in the HoR, except the RJP-N, have not yet decided whether to field the candidate for speaker election.

RJP-N lawmaker Laxman Lal Karna said the party would not field a candidate for the speaker election.

The main opposition Nepali Congress has called a meeting of the executive body of its parliamentary party tomorrow morning to decide on the matter, said NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal. Earlier, there were reports that the NC would field Bhusal to contest speaker’s post.

Socialist Party Nepal leader Ram Sahay Yadav said the party would take a decision soon.

With the post of deputy speaker also falling vacant after Tumbahangphe’s resignation, Parliament Secretariat Spokesperson Dhashrath Dhamala said the election for deputy speaker would be held in the second phase. “The election for deputy speaker will be held on the direction of the speaker,” he said.

It is still not clear who will become the next deputy speaker, as the ruling NCP, the party having nearly two-thirds majority in the House, has not yet decided which candidate from which party to support.

The NCP cannot have deputy speaker’s post due to constitutional provision.

Sources said it had been tentatively agreed that the RJP-N would be allocated the deputy speaker’s post and the RJP-N would support the NCP candidate for speaker.

“Most probably, it will be Chanda Chaudhary from RJP-N,” the source said.