Govt defers amendment bid as RPP stands divided

Published On: May 4, 2017 07:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 3: Seeing no possibility of securing the two-thirds majority required for endorsing the constitution amendment bill, the ruling parties and other political parties supporting the governing coalition have now decided to put the bill to a vote only after  the first phase  local elections on May 14.

The government’s bid to garner a two-thirds majority in  parliament in favor of the bill suffered a setback after a group of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) lawmakers stood against the party chairman’s decision to support the bill.

Sources said around 10 RPP lawmakers led by former local development minister Ram Kumar Subba have challenged the party’s official decision. Subba claimed that out of the party’s total of 37 lawmakers, over a dozen are against the bill.

“We are ready to vote against the bill even if the party issues a whip. We are ready to challenge the party order in this case if needed,” said Subba.

If the dissident RPP lawmakers don’t vote for the amendment bill, the government will be short of more than a dozen votes for pushing the amendment through.

Though the parliament secretariat had included the constitution amendment bill in the possible agenda for  discussion in parliament  on Thursday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal asked Speaker Onsari Gharti not to include it for now.

“The prime minister informed me that he has been trying to forge consensus on the amendment bill and he sought some more days for the purpose. The business advisory committee will discuss the issue tomorrow. Given the prime minister’s request, the committee will  not  include this issue in the agenda to be discussed at tomorrow’s House meeting,” Speaker Gharti said.

Minister for Law and Justice Ajay Shankar Nayak said the government is in continuous negotiations with various political parties in its effort to garner  support for the bill.
The government  had earlier planned to put the bill to a vote on Sunday.

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