EDITORIAL: Suicidal move
As many legal experts have termed the PM’s move ‘unconstitutional’, we need to wait until the Supreme Court gives its verdict on it
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday took a suicidal move of his political career by recommending to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari for the dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR), which was immediately endorsed by the head of the state.
The mid-term elections have been scheduled for April 30 and May 10. But this move is sure to face stiff challenges in the Supreme Court as there is no clear constitutional provision about the powers granted to the council of ministers to dissolve the HoR before the expiry of its five-year term. Citing Article 76 (1) and (7) of the constitution, the president’s office said the HoR was dissolved as per the parliamentary “norms” and “international practice” of the parliamentary democracies. Earlier yesterday, the PM had convened a meeting of his cabinet, where he announced the withdrawal of the controversial ordinance to amend the Constitutional Council Act that he had recommended last week.
But he immediately told the cabinet ministers that he was dissolving the HoR on the ground that he was not receiving ‘cooperation from within his party’.
Four cabinet ministers had opposed the move, saying “it would be suicidal not only for him but also for the entire communist movement”.
PM Oli took the decision to dissolve the HoR after he could not get support from his colleagues, especially Madhav Kumar Nepal and his Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, since his election to office some three years ago when he steered the party to win a near two-thirds majority on the slogan of giving stability and good governance.
But Oli’s government failed on both the fronts. Fed up with political instability and frequent changes in the guard of the government, the people had given his party a clear mandate to govern for a full term.
But Oli took it as his own personal gain, rather than the collective efforts of the people, cadres and the party’s rank and file. With the mid-term election announced, the ruling NCP is sure to split vertically top down, giving a golden opportunity for the Nepali Congress, the main opposition, to stage a comeback after suffering a humiliating defeat in the last election. Legal experts have termed his move “unconstitutional”.
The NC has already said it would “counter the move politically”, which means the opposition is already geared up for the snap polls. Another question is whether the country is in a position to conduct the election when the nation has yet to recover from the COVID-19 and the battered economy. How will the government mobilise the resources required for the election that will incur billions of rupees? On the other hand, why should the country suffer from the PM’s immature politics, largely driven by the internal bickering with his bedfellow? Looking at it from both the scenarios, PM Oli’s political career will come to an abrupt end even if the snap polls are held as his faction or his new party is sure to suffer a setback or he will have to step down from office should the apex court quash his move.
Wrap up warm
Temperatures have been dropping across the country in recent days, and people’s lives have been thrown out of gear as a cold wave sweeps across the Tarai belt. A cold wave is a phenomenon that recurs annually, but people don’t seem to learn lessons from it. At least six people have died due to the extreme cold in Siraha in east Nepal, while the cold wave has begun to affect people’s lives in the districts of west Nepal. With the biting cold and poor visibility due to the thick fog, there has been a slack in the movement of both people and vehicles in the towns of Banke and Bardia districts.
Since we are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that is still infecting and killing people, people are advised to stay indoors and keep themselves warm by wearing thick clothes. While venturing out, it is important that people continue to practise social distancing and wear a mask at all times to stay safe from COVID infection as it is the time of the year when hospitals are brimming with patients, especially children, suffering from cold-related diseases.
Should the temperature become unbearably cold, the authorities should make provisions to build bonfires at different localities so that the people can keep themselves warm.