First meeting of the reinstated parliament begins today amid heightened intra-party row within NCP

Published On: March 7, 2021 10:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

PM Oli is likely to face a no-confidence motion in the House session beginning today

KATHMANDU, March 7: The first meeting of the reinstated House of Representatives (HoR) is all set to begin on Sunday afternoon as per the Supreme Court’s February 23 verdict which overturned Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve the lower house of  parliament on December 20. 

President Bhandari, upon the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, has called the House session at 4 PM tomorrow as per Article 93 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal. 

The winter session of the 275-member lower house was due to begin before January 2 as per the constitution. However, that did not happen as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli ‘unconstitutionally’ dissolved parliament on December 20 last year. The Supreme Court (SC), in its landmark verdict on February 23, overturned the dissolution move and ordered the government to call the House session within 13 days from the verdict date. The interval between the two sessions shall not be more than six months. The budget session of the House was prorogued on July 2 last year. 

Other political parties and the general public are observing the session with great interest as the two factions of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) - one led by PM Oli and the other by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal - have announced the leaders and chiefs of their respective parliamentary parties amid disputes over the authenticity of the party. Both factions have staked their claims over the name and election symbol of the party, registering applications at the Election Commision.

Meanwhile, the Dahal-Nepal faction is said to have been preparing to register a vote of no-confidence against PM Oli on Sunday. A parliamentary party meeting of the faction held on Friday decided to file the no-confidence motion against the prime minister, according to leaders of the faction. Yagya Raj Sunuwar, a lawmaker belonging to the Dahal-Nepal faction, said that at least 111 parliamentarians have already signed the no-confidence motion against PM Oli. Four more lawmakers will sign the proposal soon, he added.

PM Oli, on the other hand, is also preparing to face parliament in the changing context as the apex court overturned his decision to dissolve parliament. While many were expecting him to step down from his post following the court’s verdict, he said that he would not resign as the court did not ask him to do so. He has been time and again claiming that he still holds a majority in the parliamentary party and parliament. 

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli recently appointed Bishal Bhattarai as the party's chief whip, ousting Dev Gurung from the post. The Dahal-Nepal-led faction, on the other hand, informed the Parliament Secretariat that it had elected Dahal as the leader of the parliamentary party and Dev Prasad Gurung as the chief whip.

The 275-member HoR comprises 173 members of the NCP including Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota, 61 MPs from the main opposition Nepali Congress and 32 MPs from the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP). One post of lawmaker is vacant following the demise of Sanu Shiva of NCP while two MPs each from the Nepali Congress and JSP have been suspended as per court orders.

 As per the constitutional provision, Chhakka Bahadur Lama from Humla and one member each representing Rastriya Janamorcha, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Nepal Majdur Kisan Party are also in parliament with a status of independent parliamentarians.

With this,  as many as 270 lawmakers including the speaker are likely to be present in the upcoming meeting of the HoR.

Similar to the previous sessions, the formality of reading out the letter from the Office of the President and address by the top leaders of the political parties represented in parliament will take place in the first meeting of this session.

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