Finance minister resigns as his upper house membership ends

Published On: March 4, 2020 07:45 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Likely to take oath of office as minister again on Wednesday

KATHMANDU, Mar 4: Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, who has also been entrusted with the Communications and Information Technology portfolio, has tendered his resignation as his two-year term as a member of the National Assembly expired on Wednesday. 

Khatiwada submitted his resignation to Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi, who later took the resignation letter to President Bidya Bhandari at Shital Niwas. Khatiwada resigned from his post in accordance with Article 77 (2a) of the Constitution.

President Bhandari has assigned both the portfolios of Finance and of Communications and Information Technology to Prime Minister KP Oli until new ministers are appointed to those ministries.

Sources said President Bhandari is administering the oath of office and secrecy to new ministers on Wednesday, along with 18 newly-elected members and one nominated member of the National Assembly. Multiple sources said Khatiwada is likely to take oath of office and secrecy as finance minister again on Wednesday. 

Prime Minister Oli’s bid to re-appoint Khatiwada as an upper house member was delayed after a section of leaders within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) stood against his proposal. The group led by party executive chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been advocating the nomination of Bamdev Gautam to the position that falls vacant upon the expiry of Khatiwada’s term.

But Oli has been resisting the decision, saying he will find it difficult to lead the cabinet without an economist like Khatiwada in his team. In an apparent bid to mount pressure against Oli re-nominating Khatiwada to the upper house, an NCP secretariat meeting held at the initiative of Chairman Dahal had earlier decided to recommend Gautam as upper house member.

Although it is still not clear whether he will be nominated to parliament again, Khatiwada can lead the ministry for six months even without becoming a lawmaker, as per existing provisions in the Constitution. 

Sources said Khatiwada is likely to be re-appointed to the upper house upon the recommendation of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.

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