March 10, 2018 06:43 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 10: CPN (Maoist Center) leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara, 58, is set to be elected as speaker of parliament unopposed on Saturday, after the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) decided not to field its candidate for the post.
Though Mahara is the sole candidate for the post, his candidacy needs to be endorsed by majority votes of the House, which is 138 votes of the total 275. The election has been scheduled for 1 pm Saturday. Mahara will serve in the post for the next five years.
A five-time former minister and two time deputy prime minister, Mahara was the general secretary of the Maoist until the party dissolved its central body a few years ago.
Mahara was born in Rolpa and worked as a schoolteacher in the district before joining Maoist politics. He was elected to parliament from Dang constituency 2 in the recent parliamentary elections.
The Parliament Secretariat had scheduled 10 am to 1 pm on Friday for filing candidacy for speaker. Mahara had reached the parliament building New Baneshwar at 11:30 am to register his candidacy.
Former Speaker Subas Nembang of CPN-UML proposed Mahara's candidacy while former Law Minister Dev Gurung of Maoist Center seconded the proposal. Gurung himself was among the aspirants for the speaker post from the Maoist Center after the post was alloted to Maoist Center during a power-sharing agreement between the CPN-UML and the Maoist Center last month.
The Maoist Center on Friday decided to appoint Gurung as party's chief whip after picking Mahara for the post of speaker, according to Maoist Center Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal.
After filing his candidacy, Mahara told journalists that he will facilitate the task of implementation of the constitution and enactment of new laws.
"I hope all political parties including the main opposition will cooperate," he said.
Although Mahara was picked by the party through a unanimous decision, some leaders are dissatisfied, according to a party source. Some senior leaders were for giving opportunity to new faces as Mahara has already held several senior government positions in the past.
Three National Assembly members sworn in
After the Supreme Court paved way for administering the oath of office to the three National Assembly members appointed by the president last month, Yubraj Khatiwada, Ram Narayan Bidari and Bimala Paudel Rai were sowrn-in on Friday.
Seniormost member of the upper house Tara Devi Bhatta administered the oath to Khatiwada, Bidari and Paudel in parliament. Earlier, acting on a writ petition filed by three nominees for the upper house recommended by the erstwhile government, the Supreme Court had temporarily stayed their oath-taking. The former government had recommended the petitioners for upper house on February 11. But the new government set aside the recommendations and made new recommendations in their place.
Although, the three have been sworn-in Friday, they will not be able to vote in the president's election as their names have not been included in the voter list published by the Election Commission.