Deliberations likely to start on Thursday

  • constitution amendment bill
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 10, 2017-Forty days after it was registered at the Parliament Secretariat, the constitution amendment bill was finally tabled in Parliament on Sunday amid objections from the opposition parties.

Now, all eyes will be on the process, which could take around three weeks to conclude if all due procedures are followed or can be completed in 10 days if fast-tracked. 

There are some mandatory procedures though.

With the bill formally tabled in the House now, the Parliament Secretariat will first issue a notice through government media on Tuesday to inform the members of the public about the event as per Article 274 (3) of the Constitution of Nepal.

Bill introduced [in Parliament] shall be publicly published for information to the general public within 30 days of its introduction in the concerned House, says the constitutional provision. 

According to Bharat Raj Gautam, spokesperson for the Parliament Secretariat, the bill then will be put for theoretical discussion and lawmakers will be allowed to air their views. The Parliament Secretariat is yet to fix the date for starting theoretical discussion on the bill, but preparations are underway to put it for deliberations on Thursday. 

The theoretical discussion may continue for two to four days, depending on the number of lawmakers willing to speak. 

As nine opposition parties led by the CPN-UML seem to be in no mood to participate in theoretical discussion, the process could be completed in two days. 

Following the deliberations on the bill, lawmakers will be given 72 hours to register their amendments. Parliament can form a special committee to study the amendments registered by lawmakers if the number of lawmakers seeking amendments is deemed high. Nonetheless, the amendments registered by lawmakers can also be directly decided through voting in Parliament when the main bill is put to vote. 

For the amendment bill to get endorsed in Parliament, 396 lawmakers in the 594-strong House must vote in favour. 

For the governing parties, getting the bill endorsed in Parliament, however, will not be an easy task. 

The ruling alliance currently has 324 lawmakers on its side, including those from some Madhes-based parties that are likely to vote in favour of the bill.

Even if the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik and the CPN (Samyukta), which have 32 seats combined, vote in favour of the bill, the ruling alliance will need 40 more votes to ensure two-thirds majority. 

The Rastriya Prajatantra Party, the fourth largest force in Parliament with 37 seats, has already expressed its objection to the amendment bill. 

Even if the ruling Nepali Congress-Maoist Centre alliance manages to persuade the RPP to vote in favour of the amendment bill, it will still fall short of three votes. 

On the other hand, the opposition bloc led by the UML finds itself in a bit comfortable position when it comes to failing the bill, as the opposition alliance, as of now, has 201 lawmakers on its side.

The constitution amendment bill registered at the Parliament Secretariat on November 29 has been vehemently opposed by the main opposition UML, which says it is against national interest and is unconstitutional.

 

Published: 10-01-2017 07:22

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