KATHMANDU, Jan 14: Although the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) sought the resignation of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) Shivamaya Tumbahangphe, the latter on Tuesday reiterated that she is not going to step down from her post.
“As per the existing constitutional provisions, no political party can ask the deputy speaker to step down from the post,” Tumbahangphe told reporters on Tuesday.
She categorically said that she is not forced to follow any directive from the ruling party since the parliament functions as an independent institution. According to her, she doesn’t belong to any political party since the time she was elected as deputy speaker of HoR.
“Unless and until the concerned party fields its candidate for the post, I won’t tender my resignation,” she said.
She said she would not resign from the post. "I have been discharging duties in the capacity of acting chief of the legislative body in the absence of the speaker," she said.
Tumbahangphe maintained that the parliament cannot remain headless according to the constitution.
"I don’t think it is wise to step down from the post at the moment. I must continue to work in line with the present constitution so that there will not be any parliamentary crisis," she said.
She, however, stated that she wouldn’t have any problem in resigning as the deputy speaker. “I’ll resign when I feel it’s appropriate not only for a party but also for the whole parliamentary system,” argued she.
The meeting that is supposed to start the parliamentary process for electing a new speaker of the lower house has been rescheduled for a third time in the past two weeks as the NCP failed to pick its candidate for the speaker. The meeting has now been rescheduled for January 20.
“At present, the foremost task of the HoR is to elect its new speaker. The NCP that holds the overwhelming majority in the parliament, however, has failed to nominate its candidate for the vacant post of the speaker. Hopefully, this stalemate gets resolved by Jan 20.”
“According to Article 91 (1-6), speaker and deputy speaker of HoR should be from different political parties, and one should be female of them. I had been elected as deputy speaker from the ruling NCP. If the ruling party fields a candidate for the speaker’s vacant post, I will resign on moral grounds. But I don’t understand why they (NCP leadership) have sought my resignation even without starting the formal procedure to pick the new speaker,” she clarified.
The deputy speaker also said that she has not yet received formal information about the decision of NCP Secretariat seeking her resignation.
She also claimed that she could be an appropriate candidate for the speaker as she has gained much experience in these two years. “I have not committed any crime, why should I be convicted?” she questioned. She also stated that she could justify her role as the speaker as she is highly capable and committed to upholding the integrity of the top parliamentary post.
She claimed that she has not been pressurized from within and outside the party to put her papers in.
“People rather have been acknowledging me for my position as a deputy speaker. I know it’s because they have faith in this institution. And I won’t let them down.”