House obstruction lands govt in trouble

Published On: May 27, 2017 01:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 27: As consensus between the ruling and opposition parties to lift the ongoing House obstruction remains elusive, the government is facing difficulty in having the policy and programs endorsed by parliament and present the budget for the new fiscal year on time.
The House failed to start deliberations on the policy and programs on Friday due to obstruction by the main opposition CPN-UML. President Bidya Bhandari had presented the government's policy and programs in the House on Thursday. 

The opposition has been obstructing the House since the beginning of the budget session earlier this week, demanding withdrawal of the government's decision to increase the number of local units in tarai districts, among other issues. The opposition briefly lifted its obstruction on Thursday, for the president to present the government's policy and programs. But they resumed the obstruction, delaying the endorsement of the policy and programs. 

After UML's obstruction, the House meeting was deferred on Friday as well, failing to pass vote of thanks to the president for presenting policy and programs as per the parliamentary traditions. 

While the ruling parties seem confident that the opposition party will eventually decide to lift the House obstruction, the main opposition party, CPN-UML, has not disclosed its intention as of Friday. However, the party hasn't said that it will obstruct the presentation of budget in the House. The constitution has a mandatory provision for the new budget to be unveiled on Jestha 15 (May 29 this year) each year and the ruling parties have said that if the UML obstructs the budget, it will be against the constitution. 

“If they obstruct the budget presentation in the House, it will be against the constitution. We don't think any democratic political party resort to such an anti-constitutional move,” said ruling Nepali Congress (NC) Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha. 

Opposition UML is also positive about allowing the budget, but technically the government cannot present the budget without passing the policy and programs from the House first. 

“If the government doesn't heed our demands, we will not allow the endorsement of the policy and programs through the House. The government will have to face grave consequences,” said UML leader Agni Kharel. 

There are just two days left for presenting the budget for the upcoming fiscal year as envisioned in the new constitution, but the government and the opposition are yet to reach a deal. The opposition has demanded withdrawal of the government decision to increase the number of local units, impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, reversal of the decision to withdraw cases against those accused in the Tikapur incident, among others. 

The prime minister has convened a meeting of major political parties for Saturday morning prior to the House meeting scheduled for 1 pm. 

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