Amendment in trouble as more parties oppose it

Published On: December 10, 2016 07:30 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

More than one-third MPs in opposition

KATHMANDU, Dec 10: The constitution amendment bill registered by the government is in trouble as more fringe political parties have decided to stand against it.

The government had registered the bill as it expected to garner two-thirds support in Parliament for its endorsement. Initially, it was widely assumed that the ruling coalition was just a few votes short.

But as several districts witnessed strong protests against the proposal to split Province 5, more small parties have joined the opposition camp. 

The number of political parties in opposition to the amendment bill has reached eight from Friday, with 200 lawmakers now in opposition to it.

Rastriya Janamukti Party Loktantrik (RJP-L) and Nepal Pariwar Dal stood against the amendment bill on Friday, joining the opposition camp led by the main opposition CPN-UML.

The UML, CPN (ML), Rastriya Janamorcha and Nepal Workers Peasants Party (NWPP) had started the House obstruction demanding withdrawal of the amendment bill.

Nepa Party and Madhes Samata party also joined the opposition camp a week later. Nepal Pariwar Dal recently quit the ruling coalition and joined the opposition camp. 

As the number of lawmakers in opposition to the amendment has reached more than one-third, the government side’s bid to garner a two-thirds majority in support of the amendment is now in trouble. 

Even if all political parties, other than the eight opposition parties, support the amendment bill, the number is  not enough for endorsement. They will have 394 lawmakers, which is less than  two-thirds of the House. To endorse the bill the ruling side must garner 396 votes. 

Additionally, the Madhes-based  parties have already opposed the amendment bill, claiming that it still fails to address the grievances in Tarai-Madhes. Likewise, fourth largest party  Rastriya Prajatantra Party has also hinted that it would not favor the amendment bill in its existing form. 

The main opposition UML has 182 lawmakers in Parliament, CPN (ML) has 5, NWPP 4, Janamorcha 3, Pariwar Dal and Janamukti 2 each, and Nepa and Madhes Samata 1 each. 

The parties on the opposition side have demanded the withdrawal of the amendment bill to end the House obstructions. 

“Until and unless the government withdraws the amendment bill we will not let the House  enter into its business. We urge the government to forge consensus with all political parties on the amendment,” said Shivalal Thapa of RJP-L speaking a the House meeting on Friday. 

For the fifth straight meeting, the House couldn’t enter into its business  on Friday as lawmakers from the opposition side stood up at their respective places to oppose the constitution amendment proposal which was registered  two weeks ago.

Parliament has been failing to forward the impeachment motion filed against suspended CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki to the parliamentary committee because of the House obstruction. 

Speaker Onsari Gharti put off the House meeting for December 15 following the obstruction.

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