The numbers game begins once again

  • Governing parties scramble to secure two-thirds votes to amend statute
- Post Report, Kathmandu
The alliance appears a little shy of the required numbers to pass constitution amendment bill

Jul 9, 2017-The governing parties on Friday told Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leaders that they would try to address the party’s demands within a week. One of the key demands of the RJP-N is constitution amendment. 

With the assurances already given, the governing coalition—the Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre)—is now scrambling to secure 396 votes in the 593-strong Parliament, as a two-thirds majority is a must to pass the constitution amendment bill.

The constitution amendment issue remains unaddressed for the last one year, as then prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had also failed to secure the required numbers. Now Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who assumed office a month ago, is facing the same problem. 

If the strength of the parties represented in Parliament is deconstructed, the NC-Maoist alliance appears a little shy of the required numbers to pass the bill. With seven parties still in the opposition led by the CPN-UML, the governing alliance can pull off the magic number only if it manages to bring at least one party from the bloc into its fold. 

The UML, CPN-ML, Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party, Rastriya Janamorcha, Madhes Samata Party, Janamukti Party and Nepa Party have all stood against the constitution amendment bill and they control 196 seats. 

Pariwar Dal Nepal (PDN), which was earlier in the opposition, had stayed neutral during the prime ministerial election held on June 7 when Deuba was elected prime 

minister. 

“As of now our position is neutral. Our central committee will take a decision when it comes to voting,” said Milan Rajbansi, a PDN lawmaker. 

The PDN has two seats in Parliament and it may support the governing alliance in return for ministerial berths. 

But even if the PDN, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party and parties other than those in the opposition bloc decide to vote in favour of the constitution amendment, the ruling coalition will have only 395 votes, one short of a two-thirds majority, as the House Speaker can cast only a decisive vote and Sanjay Sah of the RJP-N stands suspended. 

If this scenario appears, the ruling alliance cannot secure the required numbers unless it breaks the opposition bloc. On top of that, the ruling alliance must ensure that all the lawmakers are present during the voting. Some leaders like Top Bahadur Rayamajhi of the Maoist Centre and Chandra Bhandari of the NC have earlier voiced against the constitution amendment. 

The game looks tough for the governing alliance.

Published: 09-07-2017 07:49

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