October 20, 2019 07:36 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Oct 20: Keeping in view the urgency to elect speaker of the lower house, the government is mulling to recommend to the President to summon the House session by November end, said multiple sources familiar with the latest development.
The preparation of the government comes amid urgency to certify some important bills and to endorse an agreement related to Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) from the parliament.
“We had planned to commence the winter session of the parliament by December end. But it should be commenced about a month earlier in the changed political context,” said a senior NCP leader on condition of anonymity.
The certification of the bills, which then Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara chose to withhold, can only be done only after the election of a new speaker.
The post of speaker remains vacant since Mahara tendered his resignation on October 6 following an allegation of rape attempt by an employee at the Parliament Secretariat.
Similarly, the delay in endorsing the MCC agreement from the parliament is set to delay the implementation of projects worth Rs $500 under this US grant.
At least five bills endorsed by the House of Representatives are awaiting certification from the speaker prior to the authentication from the president. These bills include Bill on the Operation, Supervision and Coordination of Nepal Police and Provincial Police 2075 BS, National Identity Card and Civil Registration Bill 2075 BS, Police Adjustment Bill 2075 BS, Land Related Bill (Eighth Amendment) 2075 BS, and Industrial Enterprise Bill 2075 BS.
As the constitution and parliamentary regulations do not delegate authority to certify the bills to the deputy speaker, the first thing that the upcoming House session will have to do is to elect a new speaker.
Although the election of the speaker itself does not take much time, the selection of candidate by the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), according to party insiders, is taking time as the leaders have failed to finalize the name of the new speaker so far.
A fresh search for new speaker has already started within the ruling NCP after Mahara resigned from the post. As the constitutional provision allows the ruling party to keep only one of the two posts among the speaker and deputy speaker, this is also likely to delay the process of electing the new speaker.
Earlier, Speaker Mahara was elected from the erstwhile CPN (Maoist Center) while deputy speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe was elected from the then CPN-UML party. The two parties merged to become NCP immediately after the election. Hence, the ruling party was able to keep both the posts of speaker and deputy speaker within itself, against the constitutional provision.
But as the ruling party wants to keep the post of speaker for itself, it will now require Deputy Speaker Tumbahamphe to step down so that this post can be given to any other party in the parliament.
NCP leaders said party Chairperson and Prime Minister K P Oli has already asked Deputy Speaker Tumbahamphe to step down from the post so that the party can elect its leader to the post of speaker.
While Tumbahamphe herself and a few other leaders from the erstwhile UML are vying for the post of speaker, NCP leaders from the erstwhile Maoist Center have started exerting pressure on Prime Minister KP Oli to pick the candidate for the post speaker from among their leaders since former speaker Mahara was from the Maoist Center.
Former ministers Agni Sapkota and Dev Gurung from the erstwhile Maoist Center are among the strong contenders for the post, according to party leaders. But most of the leaders close to Oli are for electing the speaker from the erstwhile UML, citing ‘non-cooperation’ from Mahara in various occasions in the past.
In such situation, the party may propose former speaker Subas Nembang to the post, party insiders said.