KATHMANDU, Dec 15: The Constitutional Council (CC) meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been put off until further notice after Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) Agni Sapkota decided not to attend the meeting.
Speaker is a member of the six-member CC that is constitutionally mandated to recommend the names to fill vacant positions in various constitutional bodies including the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and Election Commission. Those nominated by the CC meeting, however, need to be endorsed by the Parliamentary Hearing Committee for the appointment.
Sapkota has expressed his strong dissatisfaction over the working style of Prime Minister Oli, who rival faction leaders within the ruling NCP say is taking unilateral decisions on various key appointments. The meeting fails to meet the required quorum in the absence of the speaker.
The CC meeting scheduled earlier on Sunday was put off after Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba expressed his inability to attend the meeting, citing the party's scheduled protest programs against the government. NC President Deuba had reached Baluwatar to attend the meeting, although a section of leaders within his party have suggested him not to attend the meeting until the position of Deputy Speaker is filled.
Headed by the Prime Minister, CC has a total of six members. The members include Chief Justice, House Speaker, Chairman of National Assembly, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the leader of the main opposition party in the parliament.
While the post of Deputy Speaker is currently lying vacant, House Speaker Sapkota, who is a former NCP leader, is considered close to NCP rival faction leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal. NCP insiders say the decision of the House speaker to skip the meeting is the reflection of the growing rift within the NCP.
The decision of House Speaker Sapkota to skip the meeting comes amid NCP's Executive Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressing strong reservation over the meeting as Prime Minister Oli did not make a consultation with him about the possible recommendations in various constitutional bodies.
Sources close to Baluwatar said preparations are underway to hold the meeting at 5 pm today.