NC’s next issue: Speaker, deputy from same party

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Jul 29, 2018-

The Nepali Congress is preparing to raise the issue of Speaker and Deputy Speaker coming from the same party as its major agenda after Dr Govinda KC ended his 15th hunger strike on Thursday night, whose agenda was supported by the opposition party.

Article 91 (2) of the constitution says that Speaker and Deputy Speaker should represent different parties. Currently, both the positions of the federal parliament and six of the seven provincial assemblies are held by leaders elected for the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).

NCP leaders, however, claim that they represented separate parties--the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre)--when they were elected and that they have already resigned from their respective parties.

The Congress presses the government to respect the constitutional provision without delay, threatening to launch a struggle within Parliament and outside to force the ruling party to abide by the charter.

“Besides the autocratic rule of the government, one of the major agendas of the NC’s struggle will now be the Speaker and Deputy Speaker,” said Congress Vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi, adding that his party would force the government to respect the provision through protests within Parliament and on the streets.

“We have been raising the issue in Parliament,” said NC Chief Whip Balkrishna Khand. “We will be forced to create pressure from Parliament if the government remained indifferent to our demand.”

On Friday NC lawmakers including Minendra Rijal raised the issue in Parliament, hinting at the NC’s next agenda for struggle. Article 182 (2) of the constitution has similar provisions concerning provincial parliaments.

The Congress Parliamentary Party and meetings of its top leaders have also concluded that the government cannot violate the constitutional requirement. Advocate Achyut Kharel’s petition, filed more than a month ago, demanding a writ ordering the Speaker and his deputy to be from separate parties remains undecided at the Supreme Court. NCP leaders claim that the issue sub judice in court must not be discussed in Parliament.

The NCP leaders’ view that the issue becomes insignificant since Speakers and Deputy Speakers have already abandoned their parties is countered by the Act Related to Political Parties.

Section 31 of the Act says that any member of parliament who abandons the party for which s/he was elected leaves the position vacant. The positions of Speaker and their deputies are not treated as vacant.

The opposition party has decided to demonstrate across the country against the government on Tuesday.

Published: 29-07-2018 07:27

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