Cabinet reshuffle unlikely before by-polls: Nepal

Published On: October 17, 2019 07:55 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 17: Senior leader of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Madhav Kumar Nepal has said that there is no possibility of cabinet reshuffle at least before the by-elections scheduled for November 30.

Speaking at a tea reception organized by the NCP on the occasion of Dashain, Tihar and Chhath festivals in the capital on Wednesday, Former Prime Minister Nepal said cabinet reshuffle is unlikely as this may affect the upcoming by-elections.
“Cabinet will not be reshuffled now. By-election will be affected if cabinet is reshuffled now,” he said.

Nepal is set to witness the biggest by-elections in its history on November 30. The country will go for vote to elect representatives for at least 51 vacant positions at the local, provincial and federal levels of government.

The remarks of senior leader Nepal comes at a time when there are reports that the prime minister is mulling over reshuffling the cabinet amid complaints from various quarters about the ‘dismal’ performance of some of the ministers. Leaders within the party said Prime Minister KP Oli has even already started holding consultations with NCP Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

However, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel has hinted that a cabinet reshuffle could occur if the prime minister deems it necessary. “But this falls under the jurisdiction of the prime minister,” he said. 

The Election Commission (EC) had conducted all three sets of elections in 2017. But nearly four dozen positions at local, provincial and federal levels have since fallen vacant as some of the elected representatives later died. As per information provided by the EC, one seat in parliament and three in the provincial assemblies are currently lying vacant.

A parliamentary seat fell vacant after then tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari was killed in a helicopter accident in Taplejung in February. Adhikari was member of House of Representatives from Kaski-2.

Provincial assembly seats have been lying vacant in Dang, Bhaktapur and Baglung following the deaths of lawmakers Uttar Kumar Oli, Harisaran Lamichhane and Tek Bahadur Gharti. All three were elected under first-past-the-post.

Likewise, at least four positions of rural municipality chief/deputy chief, one municipality chief and over three dozen members are also vacant.

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