Speaker election process begins today

Kathmandu, December 26

As the process of electing a new speaker of the House of Representatives begins tomorrow, Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader and former speaker Subas Nembang is the front-runner to become the next leader of the House, while the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal is likely to bag the post of deputy speaker, multiple sources claimed.

According to sources, the election for the two posts will take place on Monday, while nominations will be filed on Sunday. The meeting of the HoR tomorrow will announce the date for the election, as per the agenda for tomorrow’s HoR meeting. The speaker’s post has been vacant since Krishna Bahadur Mahara was arrested on the attempt-to-rape charge.

Incumbent Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe, who represents the NCP, is expected to tender her resignation tomorrow, according to sources, since the ruling party cannot stake claim for both the posts as per the constitutional provision that speaker and deputy speaker shall represent different parties.

Tumbahamphe, who has also staked claim for the speaker’s post, however, told THT that she had not yet decided on her resignation and that the party should first decide. “I have not been consulted by the party leadership on the matter,” she said.

Since the NCP leadership has said it will not give up the post of speaker even as it has to forego the deputy speaker’s post, Tumbahamphe’s resignation is a must for the NCP to contest the election. Even if Tumbahamphe is to be elected speaker, she must resign to be eligible to file her nomination.

Despite the constitutional provision, the NCP had kept the posts of speaker and deputy speaker on the ground that Mahara (from former CPN-MC) and Tumbahamphe (from former CPN-UML) belonged to different parties at the time of their appointment. The two parties later merged to form the NCP.

Although NCP Co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal have not yet taken a decision on the new speaker, they are of the view that an experienced person, of the likes of Nembang, is needed to lead the House in the present context, according to sources.

“While Nembang has been Oli’s favourite from the beginning, the decision has been delayed because Dahal is under pressure get a former CPN-MC leader elected the speaker,” the source said. “But Nembang is the clear front-runner.”

Mahara and Tumbahamphe were elected on the basis of seat sharing among former CPN-MC and CPN-UML. As per the understanding, the former CPN-MC bagged the posts of HoR speaker and National Assembly deputy chairperson, while the former CPN-UML got NA chairperson and HoR deputy speaker.

As far as the post of deputy speaker is concerned, the RJP-N will get the post as part of a broader understanding reached between the RJP-N and the NCP when the two agreed to cooperate for the upcoming election of the National Assembly slated for January 23, the sources said.